It is no secret that divorce can be expensive. For this reason, more and more people in Colorado are taking a do-it-yourself approach to divorce and family law matters in an attempt to cut costs. In fact, 75 percent of family law cases involve pro se litigants, the term for individuals who represent themselves in court without a lawyer.
According to a recent article from 5280 magazine, this may be causing a crisis in Colorado courts. Divorce laws are complicated and the paperwork can be heavy in some situations. If something is missed, it can force an individual to start over or re-do documentation. In the most serious situations, it can lead to a dispute that may have otherwise been prevented. The case may have to go back in front of a judge again, taking the time of an already overburdened court system.
The Hidden Costs Of DIY Divorce
The article begins with a discussion of one specific divorce case. The case was uncontested, meaning both parties agreed on everything. There were no major assets involved, other than the family home and the husband’s retirement benefits. The divorcing couple decided to handle the divorce on their own.
The wife recounts the immediate challenges she faced simply trying to figure out what to do, which involved attending seminars where people with wildly different situations distracted from providing streamlined guidance that made sense for her. Then, when she finally did figure everything out, she later realized that she was not getting her portion of the retirement benefits. She had to go back and amend the original agreement, losing more time and money in the process.
And all this in what might be described as the most simple divorce scenario possible. Matters become much more complicated when there are children or substantial assets.
When considering a DIY divorce, it is important to think about the amount of time that will be spent figuring out the process, the potential time and money lost fixing something if there is a misstep along the way, the potential for disputes if something is overlooked and the risk that one party may not be upfront about assets or other facts.
When calculating the costs of a DIY divorce, these hidden costs may make it more expensive than simply hiring a lawyer in the first place.
Is Divorce Representation Really As Expensive As You Think It Is?
While some people are able to navigate the divorce process on their own, many sink a substantial amount of time and money into attempting a DIY divorce, only to then have to turn to an attorney to resolve a situation. Before you follow this path, it is worthwhile to find out exactly how much attorney representation would cost. It may not be as expensive as you think it is, and the benefits may be well worth it.
At Scardina Family Law, we offer a free divorce consultation. This comes with no risk and no obligation. It is your opportunity to tell us about your situation, learn how we can help and find out about our fees.