In the interest of saving money many people attempt to file for divorce without assistance from a professional. While it might seem wise in the beginning, since saving money seems like a good idea, getting it wrong can result in a rejected judgment and extremely difficult problems to rectify.
Filling out the initial paperwork seems straight-forward, but whatever is put on the Petition must also be addressed in the Judgment. If too much time passes between the initial filing and finishing the case, even though much may have changed, the information in the Petition must be addressed in the Judgment. If you lose your paperwork and can’t remember what information you gave the court initially, it is impossible to prepare the judgment properly. If you no longer have your court documents that have been file stamped, you will have to pay for copies of all documents filed with the court.
Filing for divorce then failing to finish causes tremendous problems. If too much time goes by and much has changed, the finalizing paperwork must reflect what happened regarding the initial information given to the court, as well as changes that have taken place. Giving the court information about what happened to property and accounts, visitation and child support arrangements, and what you want to happen now is burdensome, but will be required by the court if a divorce is to be granted. Untangling a case that has not been done properly from the beginning often costs more than what hiring a professional would have been.
While unscrupulous attorneys and paralegals/legal document assistants sometimes take a person’s money and don’t finish the case properly, there is at least the likelihood that what was filed was done correctly. When the case is reviewed by someone who can finish the work, it should be clear how to proceed to Judgment if the correct information about what was filed is available.
Unfortunately, divorcing a person who is uncooperative will make the process much more difficult. Refusing to negotiate, refusing to sign an agreement, refusing to compromise on issues, all of these problems will delay the termination of the marriage. One of the most difficult situations is trying to divorce someone who has left the state. Whenever possible, address the divorce as quickly as possible so that service of the papers and finalizing the case is easier.
Trying to save money on your divorce might seem like a good idea, but it might cost you not only more money but distress as well in the end. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is true in divorce proceedings as well.