Many people think that they can go online and do their own divorce through the online Court Assistance Program (“OCAP”) offered through the Utah Courts website. I am here to tell you that this option should be utilized cautiously and only in the most simple and direct cases. That means there should be no real property or children at issue.
Numerous people have come to me a year or two after their OCAP divorce has been finalized asking for my help to fix issues that have arisen. This is not always the easiest of tasks and sometimes the deficiencies with the OCAP divorce paperwork are unable to be fixed. It often costs more in legal fees to try to fix these problems than it would have cost had the parties come to me to help them with their divorce in the first place.
I have had to try to fix issues with custody and parent-time, usually because the good feelings and such that were present at the time of the divorce have gone away and one party is stuck with an agreement that is wholly unfair. I have also had to figure out how to deal with real property issues resulting from a marital home not selling as anticipated. Who decides if the price should be lowered? What happens with the mortgage while all of this is taking place? Who pays it? Who pays the taxes? These are often issues that don’t come to mind when doing your own divorce or issues that aren’t provided for in OCAP documents.
Problems with real property and custody are just a couple of pitfalls in doing your own divorce. There are several more including the division of retirements and other assets or the division of marital debt and what happens when one side fails to pay as agreed. All of these issues are very important and can create potential issues if they are not addressed appropriately.
I have often said that you would not pull your own tooth or take out your own appendix. So why do so many people think that it’s okay to do their own legal work?
If you are thinking of doing your own divorce, I advise to at least come in to meet with me for a free and confidential consultation. You have nothing to lose by doing so and plenty to lose should you attempt to go it alone.
To set up a FREE Consultation please call us at 801-393-5555.
Larreau & Lythgoe, PC