Though a do-it-yourself divorce is tempting, there is too much at stake for those going through the process.
Though pop culture may reiterate that half of marriages end in divorce, the statistics no longer support that. According to Colorado Public Radio, the rate of divorce in the state is actually lower now than it has been in a decade. In 2013, the rate sat at 4.08 splits per 1,000 people living in the state.
Despite the drop in numbers, it goes without saying that a number of people still experience divorce. It can be tempting to try to navigate the end of a marriage alone. However, this is often a bad idea, and here is why:
1. There are complicated laws
Colorado puts a number of laws in place that dictate who can file for a divorce, how property is divided and how child support and custody is determined. For example, when filing a petition for the dissolution of the marriage, someone must provide the grounds for doing so. Colorado only recognizes one reason: that the marriage is irretrievably broken. People who do not know the law or who cannot understand the law could make a mistake that would do themselves a great disservice.
2. There is too much at stake
Any couple that has to make a decision regarding property, cash and other assets risks a lot when trying to navigate the split without an attorney. People who do not know their rights could miss out on what is legally theirs. Further, people who have children could find themselves with little to no rights to visitation if they do not structure the custody correctly. This could have disastrous long-term effects on parents and children.
An attorney can ensure that his or her client's rights are protected through the process. This includes the right to property, the right to children and the right to support payments.
3. Easier to prevent than to amend
Once both parties and a judge sign a divorce agreement, it is considered final. Of course, post-divorce modifications are possible, but they will require additional resources. It is far better to prevent those issues from arising through properly developing the agreement. A seasoned attorney knows what to look for and how to mitigate the risk of further litigation.
4. An uncontested divorce is a better option
Some people believe that a do-it-yourself divorce is the only way to save money on the process. However, uncontested divorces are very efficient for those whose situation fits the process. In an uncontested divorce, a couple is able to agree on the terms of the split, file paperwork without going to court and finalize the divorce. Having an attorney assist with the details is still important to ensure that the agreement is fair. Additionally, having an attorney through the process is helpful in the event that the couple hits a snag in negotiations.
In general, approaching any family law issue without an attorney is an unwise decision. People who have questions should speak to a lawyer in Colorado.