Thanks for joining us again here at The Kronzek Team. We’ve spent this three part series looking at the most common pitfalls that DIYers face when handling their own divorces, and some of the strategies for avoiding them. In this last segment we’ll be wrapping up our discussion with the last item on the list. It may be last in line, but it’s just as important as the previous issues!
Handling The Paperwork
The paperwork associated with a divorce is one of the most important parts of a divorce. This is not to say that all the other parts aren’t important, because they are, but when you’re doing your divorce yourself, how you fill out and file your paperwork is going to have a huge impact on the outcome of your divorce.
If your divorce is not complex in any way, for example: you have no children, you have no shared assets or debts that need to be divided, no retirement plans, no real estate, you’ve only been married for a short time, and neither of you is expecting spousal support, then a DIY divorce may possibly to be a straightforward process for you. But that isn’t the case for most people. That’s where things can get complicated, and messy.
For starters, you cannot go down to your local courthouse and expect the court clerk to answer questions about how to fill out your divorce paperwork. Court clerks are not customer service representatives and they are not lawyers. They are not allowed to give legal advice. They are not allowed to assist you in preparing your paperwork. And because they are busy, many of them will, and properly do, flatly refuse to provide any information beyond which papers you need, and when to file them.
Remember that these clerks have no legal training whatsoever. Many times, you’d be equally good getting your legal advice from a plumber as a court clerk. Both are worthless. A much better source of legal advice is a family law attorney or a law library. The law library is free and you will have access to accurate information about Michigan family law, divorce, custody and so on.
Another thing to remember is that every county is different. The Michigan county where you live probably does things very differently in their family courts to the way divorces are handled in neighboring counties. Each court operates differently, each judge has different expectations, and every divorce process will be handled differently.
Chances are, whatever you have read on the internet about what to expect won’t be a complete picture unless it happened to be written recently by someone who practices divorce in the county where you live right now. Finding out about how things are done in your county’s family court will be an important step in ensuring that your DIY divorce is as smooth as possible. It’s important to know the law and also to know the judge’s particular requirements. All in all, there is a lot to learn and a lot to take into account when representing yourself in a divorce.
So while you are free to go about your divorce in whatever way you believe is best for you, we have helped a great many people try to clean up the mess after failed DIY divorces, and we know how well the odds work in your favor. So if you are planning on ending your marriage we recommend that you come in and spent a little time with one of our skilled family law attorneys. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you and help you prepare for your best possible future.