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Should I First Try to Use a Do-It-Yourself Divorce Website to Keep Things as Cooperative as Possible?


We have previously discussed the possibility of representing yourself in Family Court in Florida; however, what about do-it-yourself divorce paperwork? If you are going through divorce—especially if this includes child custody (i.e. “timesharing” in Florida)—one of the most dangerous things you can do is rely on fill-in-the-blank forms to dictate terms as important as these in your life; as we discuss below.

You Could End Up Permanently Losing Your Rights

Take, for example, a real life do-it-yourself divorce story involving a couple who relied on a mediator to assist them, but who did not consult attorneys, and instead used a fill-in-the-blank parenting plan in order to save money and be “cooperative.” The problem is that this couple ended up with the parenting plan that was incomplete, vague, and, frankly, downright dangerous. This is because neither of them had any awareness or access to advice concerning the legal implications of what they put in that document.

One example of one of the many provisions that came back to haunt one of those parents involved vague wording lead to that parent having parenting time only one month at a time. As a result, this parent could not risk traveling or doing anything else for fear that it would cause him to lose parenting time. In addition, wording was also included that ultimately gave one parent all of the major educational and medical decisions over the children. This left the other parent feeling helpless and stripped of their parental rights.

The couple also ultimately had to end up hiring attorneys anyway and going to court in order to put together a more viable, credible parenting plan because the one that they did based on the online forms was so flawed. Still, because of those original papers (which were filed), on a permanent basis, one spouse ended up with superior decision making authority, and this ended up haunting the other parent forever. They also did not end up saving money.

Don’t Cut Corners: Consult The Right Divorce Professional

The lesson here is that if you are considering or already undergoing divorce, it is absolutely essential that you get the right professionals involved. This is not an area of your life or you want to cut corners. Remember that a “do-it-yourself” divorce is not the same thing as an uncontested divorce; even couples undergoing an uncontested divorce—who have already amicably decided on a number of important issues together—still need to consult attorneys in order to make sure that their plans are written as they envision and that they are in compliance with state law.

If you are getting divorced in Florida and/or have any questions about other areas of family law (such as custody and timesharing issues), contact our experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out how we can help.

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