5 Reasons why you should hire an attorney to draft your divorce or custody paperwork rather than doing it yourself:
1. The downloadable forms are a poor substitute for an attorney.
This means that the forms you can find online, while they will get you divorced, do not provide explanations or space enough to cover everything that should be in a court order to sufficiently protect both parties from future problems.
The divorce judgment form available in the state of Oregon for instance is about half as long as a typical equivalent judgment drafted by an attorney. While it may sound more overwhelming to have an attorney draft the longer document for you, there is a reason why attorneys with training in the law and litigation include a lot more details and safeguards than the standard skeleton forms provide for. The reason is that the skeleton forms simply do not protect the parties from what they don’t know needs to be included in their court order.
2. The cost of hiring Brasier Law for an uncontested divorce or custody/child support case is quite reasonable.
An attorney can be hired for a fairly low cost. At my firm, we specialize in these low cost, amicable divorces where we handle everything from start to finish in these cases, for a single low fee, sometimes as low as $500, but never more than $1,000. While $500-$1,000 is a lot of money to most people, it is a drop in the bucket compared to what it will cost you to hire someone to fix a problem that you didn’t know would crop up from doing it yourself. This means there is almost no reason to do your own divorce, risking problems down the line.
At the point where mistakes are realized, often times it is too late to easily remedy that, and you will be stuck either losing out on the asset you were trying to secure, or will have to pay a different attorney many thousands of dollars to fix the problems created in the first court order. One of the most common problems that arises is with respect to the parenting plan of children, and a poorly drafted court order can often be completely unenforceable, resulting in a tense, angry court battle down the road.
3. An attorney can foresee potential problems and put a stop to them for you.
Perhaps the biggest problem with doing your own divorce, is that “you don’t know what you don’t know”. With cases involving children, the court order is just a guide for how your children’s lives will be lived for the next few years, sometimes 18 years of their lives. An experienced attorney can foresee potential problems with a parenting plan, and can place language into your court order to make sure that everybody is protected and can enforce the agreement you are reaching now.
If you are going through a divorce and have reached an amicable agreement, it is easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking that you’ll always be able to work out issues. The truth however is that life circumstances change. My experience is that the farther away the two parents drift in life, the less they tend to agree on the children’s needs, so it is important to ensure that your parenting plan provides safeguards to protect both parties rights in the event things get more tense between you in the future.
4. An attorney can save you the time and headache of trying to file the paperwork yourself.
When doing an agreed upon court order, there are two equally difficult stages. The first is reaching an amicable agreement, which if you are reading this hopefully you have already finished this part. The second part is navigating the court system well enough to get the judge to actually sign your court order. This can be a massive headache that leaves extremely intelligent, capable people dumbfounded.
The court systems are a maze of procedural documents and logistical timing that has to be handled correctly in every respect or else the judge won’t sign your order. Often times after filing the documents, the court will return them to you because of an obscure error. By hiring an attorney to handle your divorce or custody case, they will handle the entire process of getting your order signed by a judge with zero hassle for you.
5. You can jointly hire the same lawyer in an uncontested case.
A common misconception is that if you hire a lawyer, one person is going to be screwed over by them. With my firm, we handle these amicable divorce or custody cases jointly, where both parties have an equal say in what happens and how it happens, so that no one person has to control the access to the lawyer. We try to make this as stress free for the clients as possible, so everyone can feel comfortable and secure that their divorce is being handled well.
You may also be interested in reading our article about how to keep an uncontested divorce amicable even after hiring a family law attorney; 3 Ways to Keep your Amicable Divorce From Getting Ugly Even After You Hire an Attorney.
Tom Brasier is an experienced family law attorney for Brasier Law a Portland, Oregon based firm offering divorce, custody, and other family law solutions to fit the needs of your case in both Oregon and Washington. Contact Brasier Law today for a free consultation and to find out more about your uncontested case, or other family law solutions.
1 (503) 855-4777 or toll free at 1 (800) 328-9108