When a relationship is heading in the wrong direction,
it's good to know there's an exit just ahead.

Legal Issues

Separating or Divorcing.
Domestic contracts.
The bottom-line.

Separating or Divorcing.
Many people ask, "Do I need a lawyer to help me with my separation or my divorce?"

Legally, no, you do not. There are a number of "do it yourself divorce kits" on the market. Whether or not one of these kits will work for you depends on a number of factors:

  • How comfortable are you at preparing and filing the necessary documents?
  • How comfortable are you with learning at least enough law to make sure that you do things properly?
  • Are you and your partner/spouse separating or divorcing amicably? Can you work together for a smooth exit from your relationship?
  • Do you have any children?
  • Do you have substantial assets?
  • What value are you going to place on your time for doing this yourself?

If you and your partner/spouse have only been married for a short period of time, have no children, have limited or no assets, are separating amicably, and you have the time and inclination to do your own divorce, then a do it yourself divorce kit may be for you.

If that isn't the case then you should, at the very least, consult with an experienced Family Law lawyer to find out what your rights and obligations stemming from your relationship are.

A Family Law lawyer provides you with a number of things:

  • An informed legal opinion of your legal and financial rights, and obligations, which stem from your relationship.
  • The expertise you need to help you though this legally and emotionally complex area of law, while helping you determine what course of action is best for you.
  • Support in court if your case needs to go to court. This can increase the odds that things will go right for you.

Family Law can be very complex, particularity in cases where there are property division, custody and access, support issues, and tax planning issues.

While the promise of a do it yourself kit is that you will save money, that won't be the case if things go sideways on you. And while the sticker price of the kit may sound inexpensive, it doesn't take into account the amount of time you will have to take to do everything yourself.
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Domestic Contracts.
If you're goal is to enter into a domestic contract or some other agreement with your spouse/partner, you want to make sure that it will be enforceable in the event you ever have to rely on it. A Family Law lawyer can help you draft an agreement that covers all of your rights and obligations. And even if you do draft your own contract, it's advisable to have it reviewed by a lawyer before you sign it.
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The bottom-line
If your divorce is dead simple, and you have more time than money, this may be the way for you to go. But if you value your time, and you want to make sure that things are done right the first time, it's better to see a Family Law lawyer and get the help you need.
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