A large number of people meet their romantic partners on the internet, and many couples use digital communications to maintain their connection with each other. Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the online world has started to influence divorce as well.
There are a number of businesses that offer online divorce services, some of which have been around for years. These companies extensively claim that they can minimize the cost of divorce and facilitate a filing in any jurisdiction in the United States for a set fee. Many people jump at the opportunity to handle divorce matters online. What they may not realize is that there are some very concerning risks associated with online divorce proceedings. What makes online divorce dangerous?
Boilerplate documents are not ideal
The first issue with using an online divorce service is that they will typically have one set of documents that they provide to all clients. While they may vary slightly from state to state, these documents will be very basic with generic language. They will therefore offer minimal protection to the people filing for divorce. Additionally, even with software prompts or chat support, online divorce services cannot truly provide guidance to ensure that people avoid all mistakes and oversights when filling out those documents.
Advice is crucial to a successful divorce
Most online divorce services claim they have attorney support but will offer very little direct counseling and advice to individuals. What is necessary and possible in a divorce will be vastly different from case to case, which is why it is so important for people to have a discussion with someone who understands the law. From property division expectations to custody requests, there are many aspects of divorce largely governed by state statutes.
Those that don’t know the law and don’t get direct support from an attorney could very easily end up wasting time and money seeking impossible results and possibly put themselves at a disadvantage by looking unreasonable to the courts. Attorneys can provide guidance on everything from how to customize paperwork and negotiate with the spouse to how to present oneself in the courtroom.
Online services can’t catch misconduct
Spousal misconduct can be a major concern during divorce proceedings. Someone might hide assets from their spouse or try to obfuscate a history of dissipation, such as wasting resources on an extramarital affair. A lawyer given access to a spouse’s financial records through the discovery process could potentially uncover these kinds of misconduct and demand a fair outcome for their client. An untrained individual and a software program likely won’t achieve the same results.
Even online divorce services that boast about high success rates and guaranteed costs can leave people in very unfavorable legal circumstances after their divorce proceedings have concluded. Recognizing the limitations of such services and getting the right legal support can make a massive difference for those preparing for an upcoming divorce.