Divorce Forms – Are They Worth the Cost?
Be Careful What You Ask For – Tips about Divorce Forms
Legal forms are available for a variety of legal needs and I bet you can find divorce forms almost anywhere. I hear about new online form sources frequently when people come into my office and ask what I know about xyz website and abc website and I was even told recently that an office supply store carries paper versions of forms, as well. I’ve never looked at a forms website but, I have to ask the question what is the ‘cost’ to the people using these divorce forms and form language without legal advice about what is included in the form? What are the divorce consequences if you fill-in the answer to a question wrong? What are the divorce and legal effects of choosing one thing over another thing?
The last two times that I have been in court there have been three different people presenting their files to the Judge, without a lawyer, using a form divorce decree. One person’s form was not enough to get the job done and the Judge sent her away because it couldn’t be finished. Another one was either incomplete or wrong (or both) and required the Judge to work on it for about 20 minutes, before it could be completed. The last self-representer with a divorce decree was signed by the Judge – after asking a few questions about the divorce decree – with the closing words, “Be careful what you ask for…”. I think the Judge is right. Just because there is language in a form, doesn’t mean it is right or right for YOU.
If you face making a divorce decision about a ‘form divorce’, think about these 3 divorce tips:
1) If you are creating divorce pleadings from a form, you can take them to an attorney for the attorney to review. Take your divorce forms to an experienced, local divorce attorney so that the divorce attorney can tell you what you have created and what all the divorce decree language means for you. Many experienced divorce attorneys will meet with you and you can pay the attorney for the consultation without hiring the attorney to represent you. You can ask the divorce attorney your questions during the consultation as well.
2) If you have received forms that your spouse created for you to sign (this applies anytime you get documents from your spouse about a divorce and not just divorce forms) – same thing: find an attorney for yourself, have the documents reviewed by the lawyer to find out if the documents say what you think they say and if your agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse is really what is in the document. You need a divorce lawyer for yourself.
3) If you reach an agreement about your divorce with your spouse, then hire your own experienced, local divorce lawyer to prepare the documents you need based on the agreement. Find an experienced, local divorce attorney who will work with you on your divorce agreement and creating your divorce documents. Find a divorce lawyer with a divorce price structures like fixed fee agreements for agreed divorces and limited representation. This option can save you time and money in your divorce in the right circumstances..
These 3 divorce tips may help you navigate your divorce if you are given the option of using divorce forms or if you are looking for a cost-effective way to divorce. I am happy to discuss these divorce options and many others with you at our office. Call today for your divorce consultation: 940-497-5454.