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How do I get a quick, cheap divorce?

    • Easiest way up front, but usually most foolish, most financially and psychologically expensive in the long term: give your spouse whatever he she wants/demands (while it is possible for your spouse to make a proposal for a divorce settlement that is perfectly fair to you both, this rarely happens. I’ve seen it happen, but it’s one of those black swan occurrences).  
      • If you’re willing to do give your spouse whatever he/she wants in divorce, your spouse may (unless he/she has tremendous chutzpah) even do all the work necessary to process the divorce case to completion (at your expense, of course), so that all you need to do is sign a document or two that results in you losing everything to your spouse.  
      • If it weren’t obvious yet, I’ll be more concise: odds are that if agree to whatever your spouse proposes for divorce, your spouse will take extreme advantage of you.  
      • It’s easy to step off a cliff, but the consequences are hard, lasting, and usually irremediable.  
      • If you believe that “being conciliatory” will make the divorce process easier, you are mistaken. That’s “let the leeches bleed in the hope it will persuade them to stop bleeding you” thinking. 
    • Second easiest (and usually still highly foolish and long-term damaging) way: don’t hire—or at least confer with—a lawyer and do it all yourself.  
      • Can you get a divorce without a lawyer? Yes. It’s getting easier every day with all the resources the internet is making available to do it yourselfers.  
      • Does that mean that the DIY divorce is likely to be one of high quality? One that covers all the legal bases? One that does not result in you making boneheaded, irreversible mistakes? No, not likely. Not bloody likely.  
        • If you and your spouse are young, dirt poor, have no assets of high value, have no crushing amounts of debt, have no children, haven’t been married long, and neither of you want alimony, then a DIY divorce may be worth the risk because even if it works against you, you should be able to recover from it without suffering for a lifetime. Otherwise, a purely DIY divorce usually ends badly for one or both spouses.  
      • I know that to a non-lawyer divorce law seems/feels like it should be fairly intuitive and straightforward. Common sensical. It is not. Really, it is not. I know you want to believe that there is no reason why you and your spouse cannot sit down with some pre-printed forms or online program, fill in the blanks, and be done and at peace. Save time. Save money. Avoid conflict. It’s so tempting to believe such a thing. So comforting. But it’s not true. It’s worse that untrue. It leads to wasted time, money, and to more pain.  
        • Lawyers make good money trying (note I wrote “trying,” not “succeeding”) to help people undo the damage their DIY divorces have done. Wouldn’t you rather spend money on a lawyer to prevent trouble, rather than to help (try to help) you clean up your mess? 
      • If you want to go the DIY route, please, please, please include in the process conferring with a good divorce lawyer (a good divorce lawyer, not just any lawyer) before you start and after you fill out the forms BUT BEFORE YOU SIGN ANYTHING. It will be some of the best money you have ever spent.  

Third easiest (and the least popular) way: Hire—or at least confer with—a good divorce lawyer (a good divorce lawyer, not just any lawyer; there are a lot of lousy divorce lawyers out there) to assist you with what you need to ensure the divorce is handled as well as can be. It will cost you money. If you hire an attorney to represent you throughout the process, it will cost you a lot of money. If your spouse is out to ruin you financially and out to ruin your relationship with your children, you will spend—and need to spend—unimaginable amounts of money on your divorce and your divorce lawyer to prevent the outcome from being even worse than they would be in the absence of a good divorce lawyer’s help.  

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There are a lot of bad divorce lawyers out there. Beware. But all divorce lawyers are not bad. The good ones (the skilled ones who deliver real value) are hard to find, but can be found, and are worth finding when you have the need.  

Can there be a point at which the value of a lawyer’s help—even when the lawyer is doing his/her best work for you—doesn’t justify the expense? Yes. Of course. Sometimes the judge has it in for you and you can see you’ll never get a fair shake. Sometimes you can see that your spouse is bent on your financial and emotional ruin. There are times when it makes sense to surrender, to give up because spending money and effort and emotional capital on your divorce becomes a matter of diminishing returns. Otherwise, a good lawyer is worth more to you than the costs.  

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277  

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