We live in a society that likes to “do it yourself”. This can save you time and money in many circumstances, especially in home improvement projects. Today, many people also try to do a do it yourself divorce, without the necessity of an attorney. This is much easier to do today, especially in Washington, as there are mandatory forms with instructions to help people to do it themselves.
Unfortunately, without the assistance of an attorney, there are many problems that can be created, because the typical person does not know the issues to look for. The following are some of the potential problems that we have seen over the years:
- Being too general
- Failure to list assets, especially retirement funds, assuming that they go to the person who earned them (bad assumption)
- Failure to include the legal description of real estate
- Failure to provide security for a transfer payment
- Failure to specifically spell out how and when a lien (transfer payment) is to be paid off
- Not being specific enough in the Parenting Plan
- Filing in Lincoln county instead of the county where the parties reside, making enforcement and/or modification in the future more difficult
These problems may not be obvious at first, and are not realized until months or years later. When they do become obvious, they are much more difficult and expensive to unravel. You can do your own divorce, but you assume the risk of doing so. When you have an attorney do it, they assume that risk for you, and have the professional training and experience to make sure it is done properly. If you do it yourself, at a minimum you should have an attorney review your paperwork, so that obvious errors can be identified and eliminated.