So you just finished your taxes and you saved money by doing it yourself. Think you can do your divorce the same way? Maybe. But do you really want to?
Unlike many tax questions that are just fill in a number or answer “yes” or “no”, divorce isn’t as black and white, especially when it comes to children and property.
Also, as stressful as doing your taxes might be, it’s nothing compared to a going through a divorce. Not only are you not always thinking clearly, but emotionally it may be easier to distance yourself from the process and give it to someone else to deal with. More so, you’ve generally got way more important things to deal with than taking the time to decipher complex instructions, complete the forms, take them to the court, remember to do this and that during the process, etc. Your time is better spent on things like work, kids, and home – all things that may be changing at this time. You need to focus on yourself and getting through this, not dealing with figuring out a bunch of forms and running them here, there and everywhere.
Last, if you thought tax laws were confusing, welcome to Arizona divorce law! Granted, much is set by law so there is often little room to argue, particularly in regards to community property and child support, but knowing the laws and understanding them is often best left to a professional. Even the best forms, including those provided by the court, don’t go into full detail about certain things. And if not dealt with properly, could come back to haunt you later.
So do you need to hire an attorney? Not necessarily. Sure, just like with taxes, you may need one if you have a very complicated matter. But unlike taxes where there’s really nothing between doing your own forms and hiring an expensive accountant or attorney, in Arizona you have the option of hiring a certified legal document preparer. We can provide extensive legal information and help decipher the often confusing laws. Granted, we can’t give legal advice, ie: tell you what you should do. But most people, once they have the proper information, can decide things for themselves. And if they can’t, unlike with tax preparation, where its more all or nothing, you can consult an attorney on the issues you may be stuck on and then go to a document preparer to have the papers prepared.
So, yes, if you have a simple divorce, similar to a 1040EZ form, you could do it yourself. But how many divorces are of the “1040EZ” variety? Very few. And, more so, do you really want to take the time to deal with it? Or are you better off focusing on yourself, your life, your kids?
Fortunately, if you do want and/or need professional assistance, a certified legal document preparer may very well meet your needs. And your budget.