Having been a divorce lawyer in Salt Lake City since 1979, I’ve seen a lot of people try a do-it-yourself divorce. I have been asked repeatedly if I can help somebody with a do-it-yourself divorce, sometimes called a “DIY” divorce. I have had to tell them that it is hard because as a lawyer I am either all the way in, or all the way out.
The Utah Courts, however, have, in the recent past, put a set of divorce forms on-line at the Court’s website which is www.utcourts.gov/howto/divorce. These forms are a one size fits all attempt to cover every situation. They don’t really express exactly what anybody wants, but they give you some alternative paragraphs to cover just about every issue. These are the Court’s divorce forms. People like to use them because they want to keep the cost of divorce down. They figure there will be somewhere they can get some divorce advice. The problem is usually they ask friends and relatives who give them bad advice. The only thing their friends and relatives know are the experience they have personally had, and what other people have told them.
Historically, lawyers have not been willing to advise people how to do divorce on their own because inevitably, no matter what you tell the person, they don’t know how to write it up. With the advent of the Court’s on-line divorce forms, they don’t have to start from scratch.
The thing people like about doing divorce themselves is:
- The tremendous reduction in cost;
- What they hope will be a reduction in the amount of time it takes;
- They feel like they will be able to keep control of their case and will be able to better stay informed about what is going on without relying on a lawyer to tell them.
- They also don’t have to come up with a large retainer for the lawyer, and they don’t have to worry about the retainer being exhausted and getting a large bill at the end of the month, and having that go on month after month.
Most people are not afraid to represent themselves in a Court because they think the Courts are going to do fairness, but they need some advice from a lawyer, operating behind the scenes to help them avoid the pitfalls that even lawyers fall into when they are less experienced.
Basically, what people want is divorce help but not someone to take over.
This is where I come in, operating as a Utah Divorce Advisor. I am willing to give you the benefit of 35 years of divorce law experience but without retaining me to represent you, and operating behind the scenes as your advisor and coach. This helps you cut down the cost of litigation (everyone knows that litigation is expensive), while still getting expert advise on custody disputes, child support disputes, property disputes, and disputes concerning the payment of debt. After people have been married a significant period of time, they may have a dispute over the division of retirement benefits.
People also need help with simple things like filing a Complaint or getting a Summons served, scheduling mediation, or choosing a mediator.
If you want to use the Court’s on-line divorce forms, just go on-line to www.utgourts.gov/howto/divorce, set up an OCAP account. Put in the critical information, and get your forms printed. Then you can send them to me and I can comment on them, giving you advice as to how to word certain paragraphs to get the result you want.
So let’s get started. Call me at (801) 278-3700 or e-mail me at email@example.com