A DIY Divorce May Lead to Costly Mistakes

Couples considering a DIY divorce in Texas may wish to reconsider the prospect of going it alone. There are many ways that a miscalculation or an outright mistake may occur in the area of dividing property and assets or determining what may be a fair and appropriate amount of spousal support.

Coming to a settlement agreement can be a complex issue for couples who have been together for a while and have accumulated shared assets and debts. As noted by Psych Central, couples may be in store for heartbreak and a greater degree of confusion when attempting the riskier DIY approach to divorce. Self-litigation could be best left to those couples who have few shared assets and have been together only a short time.

Pensions and retirement accounts may present unexpected pitfalls

Dividing up pensions and retirement accounts during a divorce requires properly drawn up legal agreements; penalties and taxes can otherwise significantly reduce the expected disbursements. As reported by Reuters, one DIY divorce resulted in a 401(k) withdrawal incurring an early distribution penalty of 10% and a tax rate of almost 40%. The right paperwork could have prevented the financial hit.

Self-representation can easily lead to an overwhelming situation

Mistakes made when filing court forms are more likely when self-represented parties are filling out the paperwork. The resulting wasted time, adjournments and refiling can bring frustration and disillusionment. Working professionals and business owners may find that the amount of time and effort required to set properly filed divorce proceedings in motion may affect their career performance. It may also prove difficult to consistently make the best decisions without guidance, especially in what could develop into an emotionally-charged situation.

Spousal support may prove a critical factor in a divorce settlement

Whether an ex-spouse is paying or receiving spousal support, a fair determination regarding the amount may prove difficult in a DIY divorce, especially in high-asset circumstances. Texas courts take into consideration a range of factors, such as the length of the marriage, physical health, future income-earning ability and a non-working spouse’s contribution to the other partner’s ability to earn income.

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