At Owen Hodge Lawyers, we appreciate and respect your desire to handle as much of your own divorce as possible. It’s not just about the money; we understand that your desire for privacy and control of your own affairs is also part of the picture. A divorce kit is a great tool for this.
However, our experience in marriage and divorce law has also shown that there are some particularly tricky twists and turns on the path to a fresh start. We would like to share our insight to prevent some common missteps. There are also some red flags that indicates too much DIY is likely to lead to trouble.
We have come up with a methodology for using a divorce kit that will allow you to schedule and share tasks as you think appropriate. Call us and let us plan together how to use your kit.
What is a Divorce Kit?
A divorce kit, which is publicly available from the Family Law Courts, sets out the steps in applying for and obtaining a divorce and includes an application for divorce form. It includes comprehensive instructions as well as definitions and explanations of technical legal terms found in divorce law. It may be completed with or without the assistance of a lawyer and may be submitted electronically.
It does not address two big concerns in many divorces: the settlement of financial affairs and arrangements for the care and support of children. Many divorcing couples choose to work through these issues during the 12-month period of separation that must generally precede the granting of a divorce.
How to Use Your Kit in a Way that Suits You?
By all means, get a kit and spend some time going through it to familiarize yourself with the divorce process, but then do a frank evaluation of what you actually want to do on your own.
In an amicable situation, when you and your spouse intend to apply for a divorce jointly, there are no children, few financial assets or obligations and you are confident about your ability to handle details and deadlines, there may be little particular reason to involve a family lawyer.
If there are young children and you anticipate a long period of co-parenting, and/or if there are substantial financial assets or debts, there is a very good reason to involve an attorney in drafting the financial settlement agreement and, at a minimum, reviewing plans for support and visitation. Our experience may be particularly valuable with the forward planning aspect of longer term arrangements. If details are not your strong suit, you may also want to allocate some of the tasks involved in applying for divorce to your attorney.
In extreme situations, where there is hostility or the risk of family violence or abduction, or if you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets, it would simply be foolish not to work closely with an attorney, who can also be relied on to know when to involve law enforcement authorities.
Keep in mind that divorce causes serious reorganization of your personal and financial life. This is an occasion to review your financial and retirement plans and to do or revise your will, all of which an attorney can be helpful with.
At Owen Hodge Lawyers, we believe that every situation is different and that you should ultimately be in charge of your own legal destiny. Call us at 1800 770 780 or contact us via email at [email protected] to schedule a consultation about the best way to use your divorce kit.