Everybody going through a divorce would like their case to be uncontested and save the emotional turmoil and money that fighting in court can bring about. The fact of the matter is that most all divorces are uncontested or at least end up that way. However an uncontested divorce means that there is an agreement on every single issue from the amount of child support or alimony right down to the last stick of furniture. Until that happens, a divorce is contested.
Many people try and save money and handle their uninterested divorce themselves or even worse, hire a non-lawyer document preparation service. Even an uncontested divorce is a complex series of documents that need to be prepared correctly. Child support and custody require some exacting documents to be executed as part of the settlement while handling the real estate purchased during the marriage may require some level of detail as to how the transaction is going to take place. Even the legal requirements of filing a verified complaint as well as serving the other spouse can be complicated.
There are two reasons why doing your divorce yourself is a bad idea. First the Court can not sign off on your divorce if the documents are not correctly drawn and executed. This can result in several trips over and over to Court to get that uncontested divorce. Neither the judge, the clerk nor the law librarian can tell you how fix the documents. Second, while both parties may get along, settlement documents are need to spell out what happens when everybody disagrees. A judge will not assess the quality of the workmanship on your agreement, however if it is not crystal clear, he many not have enough to enforce the agreement in a dispute.
Many try to save money and “use only one lawyer”. While it is possible that only one lawyer can be involved in the case, that lawyer can only represent, and give legal advice, to one spouse. To represent both parties is a conflict of interest. The better practice is to hire an attorney to draw the documents and for the non-represented spouse have a consultation to review the documents and offer advice. This can usually be done for a very small fee comparatively.
While non lawyer document preparers may seem to be a cheaper route, it is brought with its own dangers. The State Bar of Georgia regulates the practice of law in order to protect the public incompetence. Nobody regulates these document preparation outfits and there is little to no recourse for bad workmanship and advice. Many of these companies cross over the line and engage in the unauthorized practice of law without a license.
If you are looking to divorce, speak with a lawyer who can help you through the process, no matter how well everybody is getting along.