Divorce: If You're Not Fighting, You May Be Able To Represent Yourself

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Copyright (c) 2010 Lucille Uttermohlen

You want to get divorced, and you're not sure how to go about it. You can hire a divorce lawyer, or try to do it yourself. Many people are ending their own marriages these days. Still, there are some things you should think about before you start your own divorce case.

Do you have anything to fight about? In many divorces, the parties end up hiring divorce lawyers and spending a lot of money when they don't have very much to lose. If you haven't been married for long, chances are good that you haven't done anything together that you need to bring to a judge's attention. All you need to do is end your legal connection to each other. With the right forms, you can do that much on your own. Among the things you should base your decision on whether to hire an attorney are:

1. Have you bought a house together? If you have, fighting over it's value is probably a waste of time and money. Houses don't gain equity right away. Unless you made a big down payment or the price of real estate is rising where you live, your house probably isn't worth any more than you owe on it. You would have to be paying on it for several years to have "equity" or value that would give you any kind of profit if you sold it.

In many divorces, one of the parties refuses to sign his interest in the house over to the other unless payment is forthcoming. The husband / wife will demand that the other spouse cough up several thousand dollars before they will let their name be removed from the title. This makes sense if the house is worth more than you owe on it, plus the cost of selling it, but otherwise, you should be glad your spouse is assuming a bad debt.

The person who wants to keep the house should try to get a mortgage in his own name. If he does, and later he falls on hard times and can no longer make the payments, the other spouse won't have to worry about being sued for the delinquency.In addition, the other spouse will have better luck getting her own mortgage when she is ready to buy another home.
better able to get another mortgage when he / she is ready to buy a new home.

If you don't know what your home is worth, get it appraised. A fee appraiser can compare your house and its present condition to others that have sold in your neighborhood. The resulting estimate will give you some idea what you should ask for it on the open market, or what your spouse should pay you for your interest.

2. Some divorce fights are over cars. It can cost a lot if you pay an attorney to go after a motor vehicle. It may seem unfair to give up a car or truck that you have been making installment payments on for months. However, it probably isn't worth more than you owe on it. Let your spouse have it if she can refinance it in her own name. An attorney's fees may be more than you'll gain if you fight for it in court.

Again, it is rare that you can sell a car for what you still owe on it, and you should always factor the attorney's hourly fee when you are deciding whether a motor vehicle is worth receiving in a divorce settlement. You may be better off putting the money you don't spend on a lawyer towards the purchase of a new car.

The best settlement of this issue is for both of you to keep the car you usually drive, but sometimes that is impractical. The car one of the parties uses most of the time may cost more than he / she can afford alone. or It may not be long for this world, and consequently only worth the price you could get at a junk yard minus the cost of getting it there. If the other car is newer, the person who usually drives it should compensate the other party if the good car is debt free.

3. People can waste thousands fighting over personal property. Arguing over appliances, furniture and dishes, can cost you more in attorney's fees than the things are worth. Furniture and appliances lose value quickly. Even if you made all the payments for the object and it doesn't seem fair to have to give it up, you might save more money if you just cut your losses and buy new.

No one can tell you what is worth fighting for when your marriage ends. If there is something valuable at stake, an attorney's help may be well worth the cost. However, if you and your spouse can be reasonable, and avoid quibbling over trivial things, you might find that you can end your marriage without a lawyer's help just by filing the right forms. Ask at your local library or courthouse, and good luck.


Need some free legal help? Write to The Law Lady at thelawlady@utter-law.com or read informative articles about relationship issues at http://www.couple-or-not.com

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Occupation: attorney
Lucille P. Uttermohlen is a family law attorney with 27 years experience. Her specialties include divorce, paternity, adoption, guardianship, probate and criminal law. To learn more about the divorce process, visit Lucille at Couple-Or-Not.com Lucille P. Uttermohlen is a family law attorney with 27 years experience. Her specialties include divorce, paternity, adoption, guardianship, probate and criminal law. To learn more about the divorce process, visit Lucille at Couple-Or-Not.com I have been an attorney for 27 long years. My practice area is family law. My web cite is http://www.couple-or-not.com. There, we will discuss dating, home sharing, marriage and divorce. I would love to visit with you there.

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