When a couple realizes that their marriage is over, they may look for the quickest, easiest way to achieve divorce and go their separate ways. In many cases, this is far more complicated than the couple may realize, especially if they choose to file for divorce representing themselves.
Filing for divorce pro se, or representing oneself in court, is growing in popularity, especially among couples who seek an uncontested or summary divorce. Uncontested or summary divorce streamlines the process for couples who meet state specific standards that determine that who may file.
However, simply because a couple qualifies for streamlined divorce does not mean that the process is simple for the layperson who does not understand the nuances of the law. If you and your spouse choose to divorce and hope to expedite the process, be mindful to use the resources you have to ensure that your divorce finalizes properly and that you keep your rights and future opportunities protected.
What are the dangers of poorly executed divorce?
For couples that have simple assets, no children, and who have not remained married for very long, a simple divorce is possible. However, divorce is similar to business partnership dissolution, and if a couple executes a divorce sloppily, they may leave each other vulnerable in the future. This is particularly true when it comes to financial ties between spouses.
Unless the couple chose to separate out their assets and debts with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, then most or all of the property that they acquired during the marriage may legally belong to both spouses. This is particularly troublesome when it comes to dividing up debts and lines of credit, or property where both parties signed ownership documents.
If each of these pieces of property, including individual and shared debts, do not receive specific attention, then both spouse’s may remain legally liable for the other’s financial choices, possibly causing problems in the future.
For instance, if one spouse has a line of credit that he or she took out and co-signed with his or her spouse, if this debt does not move solely into the individual’s name, the other spouse may suffer poor marks on his or her credit in the future. Should the spouse who keeps the debt fail to stay current with making payments, the other spouse may see it bring his or her credit score down, compromising his or her ability to rent or buy a home, buy a car or even secure employment.
Take special care when approaching divorce
Streamlined divorce is an excellent fit for many couples, but without careful attention paid to nuances of the law, it can turn into a nightmare for all parties. If you hope to end your marriage fairly and simply, be sure that you have all the information you need to keep your priorities and rights protected.