Hiring an Attorney vs. DIY Divorce in Washington | What to Choose?
In the state of Washington, you can have a divorce by hiring a lawyer or one without an attorney — a so-called DIY (do-it-yourself) divorce. To decide what type of divorce is right for you, you need to understand each option’s main pros and cons and the differences.
General Info About DIY Divorce
DIY divorce often seems very simple and thereby attractive. Anyone who is currently living in Washington can apply for divorce. However, for this type of dissolution of marriage to work for you in the best possible way, you need to know its features.
Let’s start with the definition. A DIY divorce — is a divorce in which the parties represent their interests on their own. It means without the involvement of a lawyer. This option is only possible with an uncontested divorce. The spouses independently prepare the necessary forms and submit them to the court.
With such a divorce, the couple must sign a Settlement Agreement in advance. They must decide all issues related to the property division, alimony, raising kids, child custody, spousal support, etc. In other words, a DIY divorce excludes any disputes in court since the ex-partners agreed earlier about everything related to the divorce.
DIY Divorce in Washington: Pros & Cons
Even though this is a quick and affordable form of divorce since there is no money being paid to a lawyer, DIY divorce has pros and cons. Let’s start with the benefits.
First, the no-fault divorce process is much faster than the classic fault-based one. This is because the spouses don’t have disputes that the court must resolve. In a DIY divorce, the partners agree on everything in advance, including using no-fault grounds for divorce.
Second, this is a reasonably quick procedure if you sign the Settlement Agreement discussed above. By filing for divorce with this paperwork, you confirm that you agree with the division of property, child support payments, etc.
Third, with an uncontested divorce, you can always contact an online divorce service. These platforms will help you complete all the necessary divorce papers based on your specific situation. It is incredibly convenient and inexpensive compared with the services of a lawyer. Moreover, most of these services provide a 100% court-approval guarantee.
The first disadvantage you may encounter when getting a DIY divorce is the lack of crucial legal knowledge. Naturally, we cannot know everything, especially if we do not have a specialized legal education. However, if this is your first divorce, remember that a lack of specific skills may not lead to the most profitable result.
The second disadvantage is a continuation of the first — a DIY divorce can lead to an unfair outcome for one of the parties. Even if you sign an agreement that you think is fair, you may be missing out on the benefits you merit. For example, if you have a significant difference in income or children live with you. With the help of a lawyer, you can make sure you get what you deserve.
Hiring an Attorney in Washington: Pros & Cons
With the help of an experienced lawyer, you can solve issues of any complexity and divorce with the maximum advantage for yourself. However, what about the cons?
Firstly, lawyers know the intricacies of the legal system and can offer the best solution for your particular situation. Often, people who have a fault-based divorce are very emotional, mainly when a real battle occurs in the court. A legal practitioner is a professional you can entrust with your case. They will resolve your issues indiscriminately and without emotion. Such a person is especially needed when you are very psychologically involved in the process.
Secondly, a lawyer is always more experienced than you, no matter how many marriages and divorces you’ve had. Moreover, every case has its unique characteristics, so even if this is not your first time getting divorced, an attorney still has the incomparable experience that can help. This is especially important if your case includes guardianship conditions or your ex-partner is not very disciplined.
Thirdly, no matter how stressful and painful divorce is for you, a lawyer can help you avoid many mistakes. Often, people who get divorced start to do things based on emotions that they would never have done under other circumstances. For example, say nasty things about your ex-spouse, slander them on social networks, and even threaten them. It doesn’t matter if you are a petitioner or a defendant. An attorney will help you avoid humiliating mistakes and help you cope with emotions, focusing on the main thing.
The only drawback in hiring a lawyer is the cost. Often people are afraid to get divorced simply because they can not afford a lawyer’s services, especially if one spouse is dependent on the other.
If you have no money for attorney services, it is best to look for companies that provide legal assistance for free or use an internet divorce service. They will help you collect a complete package of documents for a low price, which you can independently submit to the court.
Every case and every divorce is special. If you know that your divorce is as simple as possible and built on a friendly relationship with your partner, you can safely file for a DIY divorce. However, if you realize that your situation is more complicated or you have disagreements with your spouse over finances and parenting, do not joke with fate and contact a professional lawyer.