America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers, and the internet is full of a wealth of information and advice. With a quick search, tenacious folks can learn how to rebuild an engine, build a new deck, or complete a shabby chic furniture makeover. Of course, there are some projects that even the most skilled DIYer should avoid. They are those projects that have dangerous and/or costly consequences. Electrical work, for example, is best left to the professionals. The same goes for a do-it-yourself divorce.
Why DIY Divorces Are Dangerous
It might not seem like a big deal – doing your divorce yourself – especially if you and your spouse have little on which you disagree. Unfortunately, in this instance, perception and reality are two very different things. While various how-to sites, internet forums, and even complete DIY packages seem to give you all of the information you need, they do not explain your legal rights. You could end up agreeing to something in your divorce that places your financial future or your children at risk.
Another major problem with DIY divorces is that you may not receive information that is specific to the state of your divorce, which can create all sorts of legal problems. This can be especially problematic in the state of Illinois, where the laws pertaining to divorce and child-related matters are rather unique. You might find yourself spending years trying to work out the oversight. Worse yet, you could make a mistake that cannot be undone.
Say, for example, you and your spouse agree to split all of your assets down the middle. While this might work for some couples, it does not work for all. Plus, Illinois is not an equal division state; it is an equitable distribution state, which means assets, debt, and property are divided “fairly.” This obscure term can mean a lot of different things to couples, but a judge will use the law to help them determine what is and is not fair in a divorce. One spouse might have less earning potential because they gave up their education to stay home with the children, but the other was able to advance their career. In this instance, the judge might rule to give the limited spouse a higher settlement amount.
Child-related matters are even more sensitive than the financial ones, and Illinois has some highly complex laws regarding the allocation of parental responsibility (custody) and parenting time (visitation) in divorce. Further, modifying a court order for child-related matters can be extremely difficult. So, if your rights as a parent and your child’s right to have you in their life are not carefully protected during the divorce, you and your child could suffer greatly in the months or even years to come. In some cases, the damage done may be irreparable.
Protect Your Family in Divorce
All divorcees should have the guidance, experience, and protection of an attorney. Amicable divorces, contentious divorces, divorces with stepchildren, divorces involving businesses – they are all unique and should be handled as such. They should be handled with compassion, attentiveness, and with the best interests of the family and future of the client in mind.
At Abear Law Offices, our seasoned DuPage County family law attorneys give you the personalized services that you need and deserve. We explain your rights and the divorce process in language you can understand. We preserve the best interests of your children and protect your financial future. No matter what your situation, we pursue the most favorable settlement possible. Do not take a chance on a DIY divorce. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.