For a couple who isn’t arguing, the idea of do-it-yourself divorce sounds excellent. Download some forms, fill them out, pay the filing fees, and it’s done.
Unfortunately, do-it-yourself divorce has a different reality. Paperwork gets held up. Filings get rejected. Spouses spend a lot of time in county offices and in court trying to fix mistakes. In fact, many California counties have had to create special programs just to deal with the many do-it-yourself divorce couples that get hopelessly lost in the system for years.
For many who have started down this path, the only way out of the quagmire is to pay for an attorney, which is what they were trying to avoid in the first place.
And there is another hazard of the do-it-yourself divorce. The do-it-yourself divorce does not offer individuals the opportunity to hear what they are entitled to, and to get a professional view of the implications of their decisions. The results can be devastating, from unanticipated tax implications to heartbreaking custody issues.
Couples who engage in mediation can complete the divorce more quickly, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that all issues have been professionally examined and professionally handled.
In California, the minimum legal amount of time for finalizing any divorce is six months. For many couples, especially those who are divorcing amicably, this is ample time to complete the mediation process and ensure that all issues are fully discussed and understood.
The rise of the divorce mediation process is a boon to couples who are looking for a quick and inexpensive divorce. It is true, at the outset mediation — while reasonable — seems to cost more than D.I.Y. divorce. But the truth is that it often costs less, while saving enormous amounts of time and headaches.
Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Orange County divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation and mediation of other family law matters.