It makes complete and total sense that the sale of alcohol, lottery tickets and candy all go up during a recession. People who are unemployed, underwater in their homes and worried about paying bills need stress relief, cheap entertainment and a glimmer of hope in their futures. Here is another thing that increases during a recession – divorce and subsequently the need to save money by processing that divorce in a DIY (do it yourself) fashion.
Going through a divorce involves a great deal of emotional turmoil and can be extremely expensive as well. The truth is, a DIY divorce is legal in most states and not all that difficult. There are some things to keep in mind, however, in order to get the job done right.
1: Should You Even Be Doing This?
The DIY divorce isn’t for everyone. If your relationship is a hotbed of unresolved anger, involved acts of treachery or has a messy custody battle to fight, then you really need a lawyer. A lawyer will make sure things are fair and legal and will also act as a shield between the two of you. All information will be filtered through the lawyer and will greatly reduce the amount of yelling you will have to do. However, if your assets are few and simple and you have no children or grown children then the DIY route might work for you.
2. To Each State, Its Own
Alright! You’ve decided to go it alone. The first thing you will need to do is pop over to Google and do some research. Divorce laws vary by state so make sure that whatever advice you are working from is specific to your state. According to a recent Bloomberg study, the easiest and quickest state to obtain your divorce from is New Hampshire where there is no minimum processing time.
3. Where And How To Get Started
Once you have done your research, head on over to your local county clerk’s office. While each state is different, in many the process starts here. At the very least they should be able to provide you the information you need to get started. You will need ample time to work on the divorce including the research, paperwork, court appearance and of course working things out between yourself and your soon-to-be ex.
4. Avoiding Costly Mistakes
Charging for their divorce services is not the only way a divorce attorney can make money, many pick up clients after the fact, when they need someone to correct all the mistakes they made when they did their own divorce or have decided to change things previously agreed on. One of the biggest pitfalls of any divorce, no matter who handles it, is the tax implications it could have. Before starting your divorce procedure you should first consult with an accountant and get all you of your tax questions answered. You will want to create separate bank accounts and notify creditors of your divorce as well.
5. Accepting A Helping Hand
You’ve decided to turn to DIY divorce because you wanted to avoid thousands of dollars in legal fees, and that is perfectly understandable. Along the way you might want to consider a few options that provide expert services for a lower cost. There are web-based legal services that will help you through the whole process for a lower price. In fact they are similar to the easy-to-use Turbo Tax program for people that want to partake in DIY tax filing. If you think you have it mostly figured out but just want help with the legal paperwork there are services for this too. Many times a paralegal will be available to you for paperwork at a reduced cost to a full divorce. If you have a mostly amicable and easy divorce planned out but there is one big obstacle (like child custody) to figure out, you could be a good candidate for a mediator. If you choose to go to mediation this could be a good alternative to a fully lawyered-up divorce in which you could still benefit by a third party’s advice and authority.