Do-It-Yourself Divorces in New York: A Good Idea or Not?

Do-it-yourself divorces in New York are one way a couple can end their marriage.  With do-it-yourself divorces in New York, the parties represent themselves throughout the divorce proceedings and are responsible for filing paperwork and appearing in court.  Though there are packets available to explain how to maneuver through these divorces, are they a good idea?

Recently, our office was contacted by a couple who attempted to file their divorce papers on their own through the use of an online do-it-yourself resource.  After several attempts at filing the papers which were rejected by the court clerk, they finally contact our office.  We reviewed the documents and discovered the error in the papers that required correction to pass the court clerk and we also discovered costly errors that saved the couple thousands of dollars in taxes.

You have probably heard at least one person say, “We did our divorce ourselves, and it was easy and cheap!” This may make it tempting to try it yourself.  However, it is never wise to go through a legal proceeding without legal advice.  Your acquaintance whose divorce was “easy and cheap” may not realize that serious mistakes were made during the process.  For example, if property division is not handled properly, there may be serious tax consequences down the road if a spouse attempts to sell a home or vehicle.  Often, such mistakes are not discovered for some time and it is too late to reverse. 

Additionally, if child custody and visitation are at stake in your divorce, you may be unaware of all of the factors that impact a court’s decision in these cases.  For example, as a parent, you have the right to access your child’s educational and health records.  If you agree to allow your spouse to have primary custody of the children, and your spouse refuses to provide you with such documents, you may be unaware that you may obtain them yourself if you have never been legally advised on the matter.

Clearly, it is necessary to have legal counsel by your side during your divorce to inform you of your rights and obligations under New York law.  Your attorney will be able to advise you not only on matters that impact you during your divorce, but also those that may affect you in the future.

For a free case evaluation, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971 today.  Sabra Law Group handles all aspects of divorce and family law matters. 

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