On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in High Asset Divorce on Thursday, April 23, 2015.
We live in an era of increasing complexity. Matters that our parents and grandparents once may have taken for granted as being something they could do on their own, now, often because of their technology or because of government regulations, require someone who is technically or professionally trained to perform.
Divorce in Missouri is still something that you can take a hands-on approach to, if you want. The government even has a helpful website to help answer questions that you may have, as well as to let you know of some requirements that you may not have known about, such as educational requirements you must satisfy before you can represent yourself (complete with a certificate of completion that you will need to show the court) and references to county-specific forms that you may need to use.
Whether it is a good idea to represent yourself in a divorce matter depends on your unique situation. Before you set out on your own without legal assistance, you should consider issues such as:
- Is there any possibility that the divorce may end up being contested?
- Are there any questions about the division of assets, especially high-value assets such as real property, retirement or pension plans, that you are not certain of the answer?
- Are there children involved? Do both parents see issues such as custody, visitation, support and possibly relocation to another jurisdiction exactly the same way?
- Do you have the time, and the inclination, to educate yourself on how the legal system works when it comes to document filings, court appearances and hearings?
The purpose of this post is not to say that everyone needs legal representation in a divorce. What you may want to think about, though, is the high stakes that may be involved (especially if the marriage has lasted for a long time, people other than you and your spouse are involved, and you have accumulated a great deal of wealth and assets together. An initial consultation with a family law attorney can at least help you to decide confidently whether a do-it-yourself divorce is right for you, and may help you to avoid unanticipated complications as you proceed.