Experts warn spouses to exercise caution when it comes to DIY divorce

We live in an age of instant accessibility thanks to the proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablet computers and nearly universal Wi-Fi access. This means that we can do virtually anything in the span of only a few clicks from finding the location of a store or accessing important financial accounts to purchasing items from a favorite retailer or even initiating the divorce process.

Believe it or not, there are currently websites out there advertising inexpensive and fast divorce services involving absolutely no human interaction. Specifically, these sites offer forms that can supposedly be downloaded, filled out and sent into a court to complete the divorce.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelmingly majority of legal experts have indicated that the promises made by online divorce sites are often too good to be true and that those who choose to make these bare bones divorce filings are often setting themselves up for significant legal problems.

“The Internet promises that it’s going to be easy, cheap and quick. But it’s often times not legally effective,” said one Texas-based family law attorney.

Simply put, divorce is a very complex area of the law and those lacking the necessary knowledge can quickly run into problems without proper guidance. Don’t believe it? Consider that the Texas Family Code has approximately 266 Chapters, all of which outline rights and responsibilities in frequently arcane language.

To further illustrate the dangers posed by do-it-yourself divorce forms downloaded from the Internet, consider a case involving the aforementioned Texas family law attorney.

Here, spouses who submitted their own DIY divorce forms were ordered by the judge to retain the services of an attorney after they managed to overlook a rather significant issue: child custody.

As if this wasn’t concerning enough, they also failed to address important issues associated with property division.

“The parties missed the fact that the wife was entitled to part of the husband’s benefits,” she said. “That was an issue we were able to catch where she was able to get a portion of that. Otherwise, she would not have.”

While the temptation posed by DIY divorce can be strong, experts strongly advise that spouses take the time to speak with an experienced attorney who can explain their rights, outline the law and, most importantly, fight to protect their best interests.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage or other family law issues, contact an skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


KXXV-TV, “Online divorce option increasing,” Mike Iliopoulos, April 8, 2013