Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DIY Divorce?

I always advise potential clients that it is not a good idea to handle your own divorce. Why not? As one family law commissioner put it, “It’s like doing your own dental work. Do you know how to do your own dental work? These attorneys have gone to school for years and are trained professionals!” Without the assistance of an attorney, there are many problems that we see after the dissolution is finalized and with some issues, they cannot be fixed without an agreement of the other party. Most of the issues we see are due to the final orders being too general. 

Some common missteps from DIY Divorces I have seen in the past:
  • Not having an understanding of the phrase "fair and equitable division of assets and liabilities," or "community property," or "separate property";
  • Failure to properly divide assets such as retirement accounts that necessitate a Qualified Domestic Relations Order; 
  • Not specifying how to remove one party from the mortgage on the family home and when it will happen;
  • Failure to secure transfer of marital lien;
  • Failure to spot tax implications;
  • Failure to specify the duration of spousal maintenance payments; 
  • Failure to properly specify details in the parenting plan. 

If your divorce is truly not contested or not complicated, it should not be too expensive for an attorney to handle your case. It may save you a lot of grief and money in the long run!

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Rachel Luke is a attorney in the Bellevue office of Wong Fleming. Ms. Luke practices family law and represents clients on divorces, custody issues, parenting plans, child support, and more. 

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