5 Common Mistakes People Make when Divorcing without a Lawyer
This is a DIY culture, and many people try to handle their own legal affairs, whether that involves drafting a will using a computer program or handling their own DUI case as it winds its way through the courts. Some people do okay by themselves if they have a simple legal issue, though others end up compromising their rights.
Divorce is different. An attorney is a definite asset, even if you think your divorce is “simple.” Below, our Media divorce attorneys identify 5 common mistakes that people make when they handle their own divorces.
Mistake #1: Failing to Seek Temporary Spousal Support
Most people have some sense they can request spousal support (or alimony), which will be paid once the divorce is finalized. But did you know you can request this support during the duration of the divorce proceeding? Many people neglect to make these requests for temporary orders and end up struggling financially until the divorce is completed.
Mistake #2: Serving Papers Improperly
You need to give your spouse notice that you have filed for divorce. Pennsylvania has detailed rules about what constitutes proper service. Did you know that in most cases you can’t just hand your spouse a copy of the divorce papers? Improper service can needlessly delay a divorce.
Mistake #3: Creating an Inadequate Parenting Plan
The parenting plan is the blueprint for how a couple will co-parent after a divorce. The best parenting plans are very detailed to pre-empt any future disagreements. For example, a parenting plan should discuss:
- How children will be handed off to each parent (location and time)
- Who pays for transportation
- How much advance notice must be given if the child cannot make visitation
- Who will keep toys and clothes for the child
- Whether the children will be with a parent on the parent’s birthday
Many parents completely ignore these issues and think a basic schedule is enough. Pretty soon, conflict breaks out, and parents can’t reach an agreement, often ending up in expensive mediation. A detailed parenting plan is a must.
Mistake #4: Buying Property while Still Married
Generally, marital property is all property either spouse acquired while married, other than gifts or inheritances. One mistake people can make is buying property while still married or before final separation. A person could lose part of the asset’s value in divorce if they acquire it too soon.
Mistake #5: Making Emotional Decisions
A divorce is not the time to “strike back” at a cheating spouse or to work through your anger that the marriage failed. Many clients are motivated by emotion during this raw time, and they can make decisions that harm them. Some spouses so hate each other they just want to divorce quickly—and they might give up important property rights in their rush to divorce court.
With a lawyer, you can carefully weigh what is in your best interest and develop a game plan for accomplishing the divorce of your dreams. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our Delaware County divorce lawyers have helped many men and women obtain favorable divorces. To speak with us, please contact us to schedule a confidential consultation.