In a perfect world, married couples who decide to divorce could do so amicably and relatively easily. Unfortunately, the reality is often very different. While a DYI divorce may save you money on legal fees, you may be opening yourself up to other issues that could bring you headaches — and additional costs — for years to come.
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make in DYI divorces:
1. Underestimating potential for conflict
The potential legal landmines in a divorce are plentiful, and they aren't always obvious within the initial stages. With so many issues to figure out, from child custody to property division, the potential for conflict rises with each passing day as life circumstances change.
2. Not understanding the time frame
Even the simplest of divorces take time for all of the required paperwork to be filed and processed. You may want your marriage to be over yesterday, but the bureaucratic aspect could take much longer than you think — and in some instances, this may entice you to agree to conditions you wouldn't otherwise agree to.
3. Failing to create a co-parenting plan
While it's possible that some divorcing couples can get along with winging a co-parenting plan, it's not the norm. Your co-parenting plan should be as detailed as possible and include information such as exchange times and locations, how the child's belongings will be stored and transported between residences, and even where the child will celebrate birthdays and holidays.
4. Assuming property will be split 50/50
In North Carolina, marital property is not automatically divided in half. If you are negotiating your own agreement, be aware that you have no legal right to half of the marital property.
5. Not understanding child support
Child support is intended to cover a child's basic expenses such as food, clothing, and shelter; it does not include other out-of-pocket expenses, so these should be covered in a separate agreement to avoid future disagreements over how they are split.
If you are going through a divorce, please contact us at Jerkins Family Law today to help you navigate the divorce process and move on with your life.