Online Document Prep for Your Divorce: Is it the Right Choice?
There are a variety of online companies that offer document preparation and do-it-yourself forms for couples going through a divorce or needing assistance with child custody issues. These sites promise to save users significant amounts of money in attorney fees and to resolve their issues amicably and without protracted litigation. However, document preparation sites are a poor substitute for the advice of a qualified, experienced legal professional.
Listed below are suggestions to consider before deciding to handle any family law issue on your own.
Individualized service. Every divorce is different. However, document preparation sites approach divorces the same way. These sites offer a simplified approach—users check a box to select and draft legal documents. Yet many people do not understand all of the issues that must settled in a divorce. Additionally, if users neglect to check an appropriate box, the proper forms will not be suggested, and they may find themselves in Court months or years later to resolve an issue they never knew they had.
Specialized legal requirements. Various issues associated with divorce, such as the division of assets, can have serious tax implications that must be considered prior to deciding who should receive the assets in a divorce. Others have very technical requirements regarding their division, such as certain retirement benefits that require a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Failure to follow the exact requirements of a retirement plan for dividing the assets will cause a non-owner spouse to be unable to withdraw or receive any of the assets. An attorney understands all of the legal and technical requirements and can ensure that they are followed.
Experienced in state law. Every attorney practicing in Illinois passes the Illinois Bar exam that tests the basic knowledge of the law and its application. Each year, Illinois attorneys must additionally complete continuing education courses to ensure that they are up-to-date on the latest developments in their chosen practice area. Document preparation sites, however, are not attorneys and cannot offer legal advice of any type. In fact, these sites must make note of this in a disclaimer. Moreover, there is no guarantee that anyone associated with the preparation is licensed to practice in Illinois, or if they are even an attorney at all.
Mediate disputes. Divorces can be extremely emotional and, without a third-party to run interference, decisions can be made out of anger rather than sound legal principles. Attorneys are often trained mediators, so they are able to not only help fight for a fair and equitable settlement in Court, if necessary, but can help navigate the undercurrent of emotions and help remove them from the decision-making process.
Palatine Divorce Attorney
Divorce involves more than simply signing paperwork stating that a marriage has ended. Issues regarding property, spousal support, child custody and child support can be complicated, and are often accompanied by very technical requirements to ensure these issues are handled appropriately. That is why you should contact experienced Palatine divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson. With more than a decade worth of experience handling divorce and child custody issues for clients in Palatine and the surrounding northwest suburbs, Mr. Richardson can help you navigate these legal requirements and ensure that all of your issues are settled correctly the first time. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.