Divorce is a notoriously expensive process, so it’s only natural to want to keep your costs low if possible. People often have a misguided idea about the most effective way to minimize their costs and losses.
The knee-jerk reaction of many divorcing adults is to forgo legal representation in favor of filing pro se divorce documents. In a pro se filing, you serve as your own legal representation and forgo retaining an attorney.
At first glance, filing your own divorce could potentially save you money by eliminating the cost of an attorney. However, there are many pitfalls to this decision, including the three major risks listed below.
- You might waste time and money in court fighting for impossible terms
A lawyer’s job in divorce isn’t just to file paperwork and talk on your behalf in court. It is also to advise you about the law and how it will likely apply to your family’s situation.
An attorney can help you understand the way that the Texas family courts split up your property and approach the custody of minor children. When you don’t have insight into these important decisions during your divorce, you might waste time and resources fighting for an outcome that is unlikely, if not impossible.
- Your spouse might take advantage of your pro se filing
If you tell your ex that you want to pursue a divorce without a lawyer, they might enthusiastically agree. However, they could have underhanded motivations for agreeing to your request.
They may have an attorney in their inner circle who will help them manipulate the process to their benefit even if they show up to court without a lawyer. They might also agree and then show up the court with a lawyer, leaving you without representation and at a significant disadvantage.
- You might not realize your rights and how to protect yourself
Attorneys familiar with family law can spot many of the underhanded tricks that often come with a divorce. From helping you review your financial statements for evidence of hidden assets to teaching you about co-parenting responsibilities, your attorney is your guide through this process.
They will inform you of your right and help you stand up for them. They can also provide you with crucial protection against mistakes and oversights, like failing to tell the court about the thousands of dollars that your spouse has spent traveling with their affair partner.
The mistakes that you might make handling a divorce on your own could cost you far more than what you pay for good legal representation. Trying to file your divorce on your own can be an expensive mistake.