Lisa L. Johnson, Attorney at Law
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Three problems with do-it-yourself divorce

Divorce is a transition from a partnership back into single life. Whether this decision is amicable or not, emotional upheaval is likely. Those that find themselves attempting to navigate through this process may succumb to the temptation to do it themselves. This is not always wise.

Three specific reasons to avoid a do-it-yourself divorce include:

  • Self representation. There is something to be said for having a zealous advocate on your side during a divorce proceeding. Without an attorney, you must represent your own interests. 
  • Lack of objectivity. An asset division agreement is only fair when all assets are part of the agreement. Assets are less likely to go unaccounted for when the process is completed with objectivity.
  • Missed paperwork, big problems. Even when both partners agree to split assets problems can emerge. This is particularly true when it comes to retirement assets. A divorce settlement agreement is often not enough to ensure both individuals get payments from retirement accounts. A special document, called a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is often needed to ensure intended beneficiaries receive payments. A failure to follow proper protocol when splitting these assets can result in fees, huge tax bills or complete denial of benefits.

These are just a few of the legal issues that can arise during divorce. Additional issues to account for can include child support and custody obligations as well as tax considerations. Do not attempt to navigate a divorce on your own. Experienced counsel can advocate for your interests and better ensure a favorable settlement to help you set yourself up for a fresh start on your post-divorce life. 

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