As a Charleston Family Court attorney, I’ve encountered many potential clients who are either attempting to represent themselves in Family Court or have already finished represented themselves in a Family Court case. Each of these types encounter problems with the self-representation process that either require the immediate attention of an experienced lawyer or may have been screwed up past the point where even the best Charleston divorce lawyer can help.
As a matter of full disclosure, the South Carolina Supreme Court has promulgated a whole series of “do-it-yourself” paperwork designed to help people get divorced without attorney assistance. We even provide a link to those forms on our Helpful Links page if you’d like to review them. There has been serious controversy over the efficacy of these forms, with most divorce attorneys (including this one) cautioning that those forms provide just enough guidance for you to seriously damage your future and your children’s future. The other side of the argument is understandable to some degree, as there is no doubt the forms provide access to the Family Courts for a segment of the population that could not otherwise afford such access.
There is also the world of Legal Zoom and E-Z Legal Forms and whatnot, supposedly legal documents you can buy online or at your local corner Staples. These alleged “legal services” aren’t even worthy of discussion in this forum. Don’t believe me? Still don’t believe me?
What many people attempting a DIY divorce don’t know is how much they don’t know. You hire a Charleston Family Court attorney to identify the appropriate issues, advise you on your options on those issues, fight for a positive outcome on those issues, and make sure all of i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed.
Do you know that waivers of alimony are final, and that you won’t be able to avoid such a waiver down the road absent an exceptional set of circumstances? Or that the division of property is likewise final, and can’t be undone? It will cost you much more to try to do the nearly impossible job of undoing your final mistakes than it would have to hire an experienced Charleston Family Court attorney for a nominal fee to make sure it got done right the first time.
There are some circumstances under which a “one size fits all” set of forms will work. Our experience is that those circumstances are few and far between. If you’re considering such a move, call us first, before you make a permanent mistake.