Today the Wall Street Journal had a piece about the Texas Supreme Court considering whether to allow people to use fill-in-the-blank forms for divorces, potentially saving them a lot of money in legal fees. It is possible to handle your divorce pro se, but there is a concern that people are doing so to their own detriment. In an effort to help do-it-yourself divorcees, 36 states currently have fill-in-the-blank forms for divorce.
It is simple to find forms to use in your divorce, but some attorneys say that this is a problem because divorcing couples don’t use the right forms, become a burden on the courts when they require hand-holding, and can make uninformed decisions during the process of the divorce.
Divorce law is necessary to provide for an orderly dissolution of marriage, and to protect individuals who are divorcing. It is not uncommon for one spouse to be the dominant force throughout a marriage, and the other spouse may be negatively affected by that in the divorce process. Divorce lawyers are a key to making sure both parties are treated fairly and understand their rights under the law, even if it can be costly for everyone involved.
So is a divorce lawyer necessary? I suspect many divorces are simple enough – - with little in the way of property to divide – - that people can represent themselves. However, when there are child custody issues or assets such as real estate, retirement accounts, and investments involved, it seems that it’s better to have a divorce lawyer looking out for your interests.
Tracy Coenen assists individuals involved in divorce and family law issues sort out the financial aspects of the marriage. She analyzes spending and assets during the marriage to determine if either spouse dissipated (wasted or wrongly used) any marital assets, discover whether there may be hidden assets or money, and evaluate the value of the marital assets. You can read more about the type of financial analysis that a forensic accountant can do in divorce and family law cases here.
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