I’m Brian Godfrey, a legal assistant for Utah Family Law, LC. I often take calls from potential clients who ask myriad questions. Some I can answer, others I can’t.
I can give you certain legal information, but I cannot give you legal advice.
Only attorneys can give legal advice, so if I tell you I can’t give you legal advice it’s not because I’m being a jerk or trying to get you off phone. I just wanted you to know that.
OK, one of the most common questions I get is, “Can I file for divorce myself?” The answer is “Yes, you most certainly can.”
Do we recommend filing for divorce by yourself without IN THE VERY LEAST having an attorney review and comment on your paperwork BEFORE you file it with the court? No. No way.
Even if you think you understand what you’re doing, I assure you, the odds are strongly against that. Words and phrases that mean one thing in everyday speech can mean completely different things in the language of the law.
Divorce doesn’t consist of merely ending your marriage, the order that comes out of your divorce case will govern custody and support of your children until they are adults. Divorce has unique tax implications. Division of responsibility for debts in divorce is not what you might think. I’m not telling you this to frighten you into hiring an attorney, I’m telling you this because if you think you can do divorce successfully without getting some solid legal advice from an experienced legal professional, you’re being reckless and taking unnecessary risks.
No matter what your income level, there are ways for you to get an attorney’s help to some degree or another. I like to compare it to your options when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Some people have or save up enough money to have a professional contractor do the whole thing from start to finish. They put the project in the hands of the contractor and pay him when he’s done. This is the most expensive way to do it, but also frequently the best way to do it to ensure everything is done by someone with the skill and experience to do it right. A lot of homeowners have some money to spend on their remodel, but either can’t afford to have a professional do everything or don’t see the need to pay a professional to do things the homeowner himself may be able to do just as well, like painting or installing new light fixtures. So they might hire a contractor to do the most difficult and complex work, but save money over having a contractor handle the whole project from soup to nuts. And some people, even those who have no experience in construction and carpentry, will remodel their kitchen or bathroom all by themselves, without paying someone to help in any way. But even then, they won’t start that project until they read a book, watch a video, and get chummy with the guys at Home Depot. Never let your budget get in the way of educating yourself about divorce before you take the plunge.
If you’re not sure you can afford an attorney, we offer a cost-effective way to find out. Give us a call and set an appointment to meet us over lunch. For $100 you meet with an attorney for an hour, and will pick up the tab for lunch. It’s a great way to educate yourself about the divorce process and to learn how complex or simple your case may end up being.
Utah Family Law, LC | 801-466-9277