THE REAL COST OF THE DO-IT-YOURSELF DIVORCE: WHY YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are considering a divorce, I am sure you have considered the cost to hire an attorney, and at least briefly considered handling your divorce yourself. While you may save some money up front, there can be huge costs to handling your own divorce.
1.You could miss out on property: In a divorce, you are dividing your entire estate. If you do not adequately account for the property in your estate, you do not understand the intricacies of community property, or you just do not understand the law, you could be missing out on large sums in the property division. For example, if you believe that funds earned by one spouse and saved by one spouse belong to that spouse, you would miss out on a portion of those funds. Alternatively, you may offer to give up part of an asset that is really your separate property
2.You miss out on child support or Overpay: Generally, child support is calculated based on the guidelines in the Texas Family Code. However, if you do not adequately account for deductions for health insurance premiums, you may be overpaying child support. Alternatively, if you calculate the average income for the past 3 years, when the last year is much higher and more indicative of future income, you and your children could miss out on hundreds per month in collected child support.
3.Your order may not be accepted by the Court: If the Court deems that any of your order is not fair and equitable or in the best interest of the children, the Court can refuse to accept your agreed order. This happens regularly when the parties agree to $0 for child support. Many courts do not consider this to be in the best interest of the child in mostAn experienced family law attorney can help you properly word your order so it will be accepted by the Court.
4.Your order may not be enforceable. Even worse than the order not being accepted is having in unenforceable order. Generally, when one party does not follow the court ordered divorce decree (fails to pay child support, fails to deliver property as part of the property division, etc.), the court can hold that party in contempt of court and force compliance or even order jail time in some instances. If an order is not written properly, a Judge cannot enforce it. You would need to spend money to have it clarified and redone, properly before you can have it enforced. In the long run, this is generally more costly than having it done properly the first time.
5.You may miss out on spousal maintenance: Many of us are aware that Texas is a “no alimony state.” While the Texas Family Code does not provide for alimony like some other states, there are provisions for spousal maintenance, which acts like alimony to assist a spouse in certain cases. A knowledgeable attorney will help you determine whether you may qualify for this type of support.
6.Added Bonuses: Experienced family law attorneys can give you objective advice and provide strategic advantages in your case whether you are negotiating, going to mediation, or preparing for a highly contested trial. Family law cases can be highly emotional, and it is vital to have a grounded attorney advise you through this difficult
In addition, the attorneys at Hanshaw Kennedy, LLP have experience devising creative support, visitation, custody, and property division agreements within divorce decrees that are specific to individual families and are written in an enforceable manner.
Our attorneys at Hanshaw Kennedy, LLP have experience in Collin, Dallas, and Denton county courts; we have worked with local mediators, and we have relationships with many local attorneys and other resources. Our specialized knowledge could save you money, get you more money, and ensure that you are properly protected in your divorce. We can come up with creative solutions that fit for your family in mediation or informal settlement and we can advise you on what battles are most important in your case. Importantly, our attorneys can give you a cost-benefit analysis at different stages of your divorce process. If you are considering a do-it-yourself divorce, you should truly consider what you may be leaving on the table.