Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thinking of trying to represent yourself in a divorce? Think again.

I came across this article in the Huffington Post. It talks about the dangers of doing a divorce without a lawyer.  The video in the link at the end paints a pretty good picture of why it is not smart.

More and more people are choosing to divorce without the help of a lawyer. Sites like and allow users to prepare divorce papers without any legal consultation, and now it appears that some people are using sites like Craigslist to
advertise divorce paperwork help for a discounted rate.

Although approaching a divorce without the help of an attorney can save money, it may also make the divorce process more difficult. Brent Chesney, a Texas judge, told 6 HD News in Corpus Christie, Texas, that when a person without a lawyer is divorcing someone who has an attorney, it can complicate the divorce for the party without legal representation.

"If the lawyer over here knows how to object properly, which most lawyers do, then they're going to want to exclude all kinds of evidence and they're not going to let things in," he said. "And you may not even get your story told in front of a judge."  Using divorce prep services found on Craiglist can bring up other issues as well, including more legal problems.

"There is a law that says non-lawyers are not to [dispense] legal advice, and if someone is simply telling you how to fill out a form, is that dispensing legal advice? That would be in the eyes of the beholding judge that hears the case," Chesney said.  6 HD News looked into one Craigslist posting that advertises divorce paperwork prep for $65 to $95 dollars and found that the number is not registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Marilyn Stowe, a divorce lawyer in the UK, created a list of the pros and cons of DIY divorce and pointed out that without a lawyer to help explain divorce proceedings, people may agree to terms they don't actually want.  "You may agree to demands only to discover, sometime later, that you were 'bilked' of your rights and entitlements," she said.

Check out the link below to hear more about 6 HD News' investigation, then click through the slideshow below to see what items some jilted spouses have advertised on Craigslist.


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