The California courts' efforts to provide affordable legal services, like "do-it-yourself" divorce cases in Alameda County, are commendable. The Judicial Council of California makes every effort to answer questions and direct people to the proper resource for answers to their questions.
Thinking About Handling Your Own Divorce Case?
Be aware that many clients are not aware that an agreement with a spouse may not really reflect what they intended to accomplish. And, several months or years later, they find themselves back in court re-arguing the same issues.
Do-it-yourself divorce may or may not be a good option for you. It might cost more in the long run than hiring a lawyer and mediating your case at the beginning. It is rarely productive when you are dealing with an angry spouse, you do not trust your spouse, or he or she has a criminal history or is abusive to you or your children. Call me at 925-401-7339 for assistance in negotiating your divorce.
If you are not dealing with any anger or criminal issues I mentioned, my proposal to you is this: Take advantage of my years of divorce and family law experience. Allow me to look over the terms of divorce to which you and your spouse have agreed. I will let you know if you have any hidden issues before you sign the agreement and file it with the court.
At the very least, having an experienced divorce lawyer review your agreement will be a good investment in securing your future and your children's future.
Some of the risks of representing yourself that I have seen in "do-it-yourself divorce" cases happen when:
- Couples are dividing up their retirement and pension accounts: People can really screw it up themselves by "exchanging" the value of the retirement account for another asset like a home or stock portfolio.
- One spouse agrees to pay or receive spousal support for a limited time: For a spousal support agreement to be binding, or legal, the law requires that very specific legal terms be included. Often, people believe they are waiving support or the person paying thinks it ends after certain number of years. Unfortunately, without the proper legal phrases, the obligations can continue.
- Failing to recognize that when spousal support ends, you may need to have more, or pay less, child support: Preserving the ability to modify child support after spousal support ends is an important consideration.
- Your liability to pay the mortgage on your house will not end: Even though you transfer title to your house to your spouse, the mortgage is still in your name. Having the mortgage remain in your name can affect your credit rating and your ability to buy another house, especially if your spouse fails to make a mortgage payment.
Unfortunately, inexperienced attorneys make some of these same mistakes when representing family law clients.
Have An Experienced And Respected Family Law Attorney Review The Terms Of Your Divorce Before Signing Anything
With over 45 years of experience representing family law clients, I am keenly aware of the hidden issues that can haunt clients years after a divorce is over. Please call me for a free initial phone consultation at 925-401-7339 or online.
Silverman Divorce and Mediation Law Firm has offices in Pleasanton and San Ramon, California and serves clients in The East Bay and Tri-Valley areas and Contra Costa and Alameda counties.