Should You Use a DIY Divorce Kit Instead of Hiring an Attorney?


The process of divorce can be just as complicated and heartbreaking as the breakup itself. If a couple can agree on a few basics, an uncontested divorce could make it easier and less traumatic. In an effort to simplify things even further, a number of websites now offer Divorce Kits that encourage divorcing spouses to make it a do-it-yourself procedure. The obvious benefit is the savings in legal fees, but there are risks as well.

Before a divorcing couple spends money on a DIY kit, they should think it over very carefully and consider the added stress and emotional drain of figuring out how to complete the tasks usually done by a legal professional. If they use a kit, it will still take time and effort to work out the underlying agreements. Everything must still be formally documented so the agreements will hold up legally years down the road. And what happens if they get it all wrong?

It makes sense for a couple to choose an uncontested divorce, but here are just a few reasons why they still need the guidance of a Baton Rouge family law attorney.

An Uncontested Divorce Can Still be Complicated

When a couple chooses an uncontested divorce, it is a simpler option. When they are in agreement, it can cut down on the emotional confrontations that accompany traditional divorce; but there are still lots of legal details to take care of.

A couple must consider alimony. Marital property must be divided. If there are children there will be additional issues to resolve concerning child support, custody, insurance, tax exemptions, tax deduction, and more. There will be agreements to execute and documents to file in court. Unless one of the parties is already familiar with court procedures, that's one more thing they'll have to learn if they decide on a DIY option.

DIY Websites Provide Documents

If it seems unbelievable that a website would actually sell divorce kits or provide online divorce advice, couples should understand that all they really get for their money is a set of fill-in-the-blank documents with a few basic instructions.

Some sites also offer notes, FAQs or basic online tutorials on the various legal aspects of divorce. If a couple seeking an uncontested divorce wants to understand alimony, for instance, they could research the topic on the website, analyze the information and try to make the right decisions without help.

In theory the information a couple needs is written in clear language on each website. In practice, it's still complicated. Besides, it presents one more thing for the couple to do.

There's No One to Talk to

Divorce kit websites are just that. They are websites. They have links, forms, articles, email addresses, and a shopping cart to make your payment. What do you do if you need to sit down and talk to someone? They don't provide that service. The small print at the bottom of one DIY divorce site actually explains:

"...this site does not provide legal advice and use of this site is not a substitute for hiring an attorney licensed to practice in your state."

Divorce Is Never Simple

Automated divorce websites make it sound simple. They wouldn't make much money if they couldn't convince couples that it was just a matter of completing a document or two. Divorce is never easy. It's a difficult process to work through, more than a matter of filling in the blanks.

If you anticipate undergoing an uncontested divorce, you should understand up front that it won't be do-it-yourself easy. As Baton Rouge family law attorneys we will do everything we can to help. Contact us and we will guide you through the process.