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Pitfalls of a DIY Divorce


The concept of divorce is simple: you take two spouses, and you separate their lives; however, the actual divorce process is much more complicated. In this blog post, a Des Moines divorce advocate will share the many pitfalls of attempting a split on your own without legal assistance.

Misunderstanding Divorce Laws

If people attempt to go through a divorce without experienced representation, they will likely find themselves confused and frustrated because they don’t understand Iowa divorce laws. For example, do you know the difference between legal and physical child custody, and do you know how these custody scenarios impact child support payments? If the answer is no, it may be time to contact Hope Law Firm.

Expectation Vs. Reality

Spouses going through breakups may know what they want out of their divorces but understanding how the law works can drastically temper their expectations. Unfortunately, many people think the divorce process is like Judge Judy or The Jerry Springer Show, but that’s not the case.

For example, many people believe they deserve alimony or preferential treatment during a divorce when a spouse cheats on them. In states where fault-based divorces are possible, this may be the case. However, Iowa is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means adultery and similar situations have no impact on a divorce’s outcome because neither spouse can be legally “at fault” for causing the split.

Filing Paperwork

Filing divorce paperwork correctly is crucial to your divorce proceedings. If you want to be the petitioner (the spouse who files the divorce), you must correctly file all of your paperwork while expressing the outcome of the divorce exactly as you want. Unfortunately, one improperly written sentence can end up being a loophole that your spouse can exploit. 

If you’re the respondent (the spouse who receives the news of the divorce) you may want to hire an attorney as soon as you can. In Iowa, the respondent typically has twenty-calendar days from the date of service to respond to the Petition.

This deadline means the respondent must draft a legally viable and personally agreeable response to the divorce in just under a month; otherwise, they may inadvertently default on their divorce, and the petitioner will obtain what was asked for as precisely outlined in the Petition.

Failing to Care for Yourself

Divorce is arguably one of the most emotionally charged processes in existence. However, if you are going through a divorce on your own, you’ll have to handle a variety of financial and divorce-related legal problems. Therefore, you’ll likely have little to no time to process the emotional implications of your split.

However, with an attorney on your side, you’ll be able to focus on the most important thing, you and your emotional needs. Your attorney will tell you where and when to sign and will fight for equitable divorce outcomes given your family and financial situation. All that to say, an attorney gives you the freedom to take care of your other responsibilities while you go through the divorce process.

Ready to Hire a Professional?

As you can see, there are many pitfalls of a DIY divorce. If you’re ready to hire a professional, our experienced attorneys can help you no matter the circumstances of your split. If you’re ready to hire an attorney, Hope Law Firm is here to help.

Call (515) 305-2772 now to set up a consultation for your case!