The Pitfalls of Representing Yourself in a New York Divorce
It is natural to want to save money when going through divorce in New York and you are not alone if you assume that representing yourself is the best way to avoid attorneys’ fees. After all, if you and your spouse can agree on most of the major issues related to children, alimony, and asset division, you probably assume a lawyer is an unnecessary cost. However, the divorce laws and court proceedings are more complicated than you think; mistakes can make the process much more expensive and time-consuming in the end.
Before you take on your own representation, review some of the more common divorce pitfalls that could put your legal rights at risk.
- Errors on Court Documents
There are several important legal documents you must file in court to initiate divorce proceedings in New York. The potential for mistakes is high for a number of reasons:
You must know the proper courthouse to file for divorce, and there are many options throughout the Tri-State area. Filing with the wrong court can lead to costly delays.
The required forms can be difficult to understand, but court clerks cannot offer legal advice to assist you. Plus, you need to know which forms to complete and file. Some are necessary, others are optional and depend upon your specific circumstances.
Some forms require you to submit an Affidavit, which includes statements that you swear under oath are true and correct. Errors that may be considered false or misleading can lead to serious consequences, and even legal sanctions.
- Complexities of New York Divorce Laws
Beyond the divorce documents, you must also have in-depth knowledge of the statutes that apply in your case. You do have rights regarding:
Asset Division: The assets you acquire with your spouse during your marriage are subject to distribution between the two of you upon divorce, and the law requires asset division to be equitable. There are many statutory factors a court reviews, so understanding how they work is critical to obtaining your fair share.
Alimony: Spousal support may be an issue in your case, either during the proceedings or after your divorce concludes. The formulas for determining alimony are tricky if you do not have a legal background.
Child Custody, Visitation, and Support: If you have minor children, New York law is strict and precise on ensuring proper care for them. Without a comprehensive knowledge of the statutes on custody and visitation, you may miss out on having a relationship with your child. Child support awards and enforcement can also be thorny issues for both the paying and recipient parent.
Trust a Skilled New York Divorce Lawyer with Your Case
These are just a few reasons that you should strongly consider retaining an experienced attorney to represent you in a New York divorce, as the legal support is well worth the investment. Our lawyers at Monarch Law Group will ensure protection of your rights in all aspects of a divorce case, so please contact us to schedule a free consultation at our Wall Street or Long Island, NY offices.