Filing divorce on your own behalf can seem like a smart decision. It lets you avoid paying an attorney, which can keep the divorce more affordable. However, there are a lot of risks that come with a self-filed divorce.
Not only could you wind up cornered without help if your spouse shows up to court with an attorney after promising not to, but you can make major mistakes that complicate your life. What can you do if it turns out that your custody agreement or other terms from your divorce are not what you intended?
You can potentially modify custody or support
If you have minor children, the courts may have approved both an order for child support and one for shared custody. If your circumstances have substantially changed, you might consider filing for a custody modification. A custody modification involves the courts reviewing the order and making changes as appropriate.
It is harder, but not impossible, to change other terms
Maybe the issue you have with the outcome of your divorce isn’t about your parental rights or support but rather the financial terms. Perhaps you now realize you did not receive a fair portion of your property in the divorce.
It can be much harder to challenge or modify property division orders after a divorce than it can be to change custody orders. You will likely need to find evidence of wrongful acts or fraud on the part of your spouse, like intentionally hiding assets from you and the courts.
The potential to get things wrong when you can handle a divorce on your own is perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to work with an attorney for the entire process of ending your marriage. Still, even if you didn’t initially set terms properly, getting legal help with the modification process can help you correct those mistakes and oversights.