Divorce, even when amicable, takes a lot of time and effort. The stress and anxiety can be excruciating as your old family life gives way to a profoundly new one.
This doesn’t mean, however, that it makes sense to seek easy resolutions that could cost you in the longer run. Even divorces that seem amicable can have issues that require a lawyer to resolve.
The limits of a no-fault divorce
In recent years, Virginia has made it possible to get a no-fault or uncontested divorce by filing by yourself online. There are certain criteria that must be met. One way to qualify is to be physically separated for six months, with no minor children and sign a separation agreement to divide up your property and take care of any other remaining issues.
For couples with minor children, an uncontested divorce may be available after being apart for at least a year, with a separation agreement in place to divide property and to determine the terms of custody and support.
. These websites will ask a series of questions and generate the necessary documents the divorcing parties may need. It will also provide instructions on how to fill out and file each document.
But at the very least, having an attorney check the terms is a good idea. It pays to be cautious, with your future at stake.
Why you may still need an attorney
Mediation or a fault-based divorce may be necessary if spouses can’t agree on custody, support or property division. Lawyers can help negotiate difficult matters. Unfortunately, contested divorces are still beyond the capabilities of online platforms.
In addition, even divorces that appear to be amicable may contain underlying issues that are difficult to resolve online. Online divorce websites only serve to simplify the preparation phase. It does not warn spouses of potential problems or propose solutions.
Divorce cases, no matter how simple or complex, can benefit from having legal representation. Having legal counsel can help ensure that the client doesn’t make any moves they’ll come to regret.