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A limited income can make divorce difficult, but DIY is not the answer

Many people have discovered that "do-it-yourself" divorces do not always pay off in the long run.
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    January 23, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- It is probably not news to anyone in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that getting a divorce can be a time-consuming and costly process. In fact, research has indicated that many people with lower income levels may be limited from seeking a divorce, which can lead to protracted informal separations or unorthodox ways of handling the divorce.

Unfortunately, many people have discovered that "do-it-yourself" divorces do not always pay off in the long run. With the Census Bureau reporting that the percentage of people living below poverty level in Oklahoma exceeds the national average, it is crucial that people living in the state recognize that, although it is possible to handle a divorce independently, doing so often comes with significant risks.

The financial toll of divorce

A study presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association suggests that financial considerations may dictate whether almost one in six couples can divorce, according to the Huffington Post. A few relevant facts about the study are:
- More than 7,000 couples that divorced between 1979 and 2008 were surveyed.
- It took three years or less for most couples to get divorced.
- After 10 years, 15 percent of separated couples were still married.
- Couples with children and no education past college level were more likely to separate without getting divorced.

The study authors suggested that these couples could not afford to get divorced, between the expenses associated with the divorce process and the loss of benefits that married couples enjoy. However, as the same Huffington Post article points out, an indefinite separation is far from an ideal solution. People who are separated but still married may be exposed to certain legal and financial risks, such as one spouse accumulating debt that the other must share.

Many couples have turned to do-it-yourself divorces when they felt that neither staying together nor going through a traditional divorce was feasible. However, people in Oklahoma who are considering a similar approach should recognize that DIY divorce is not without drawbacks.

The risks of doing it yourself

Although handling your divorce on your own may save money in the short run, it can also cost more in the long run. The divorce process can be complicated, and according to a second Huffington Post article, spouses who divorce without legal counsel may not understand their rights, causing one or both parties to agree to terms that they later regret or need to modify. When one spouse seeks the help of a divorce lawyer and the other handles the divorce alone, the results can be especially skewed.

When highly contested issues like spousal support, child custody and division of assets like retirement benefits are factors in the divorce, it is crucial that each spouse speaks with a lawyer about individual obligations and entitlements. Even when two spouses feel that they are in agreement about the divorce settlement, consulting with an attorney about the terms is still a smart investment.

Mistakes made during a divorce settlement can prove costly later, and these mistakes can occur frequently in DIY divorces. Anyone who is preparing for a divorce in Oklahoma should make sure to consult with a lawyer well before agreeing to a final settlement.

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