5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Do-It-Yourself Divorce

Do-it-yourself divorces are common in several states, including Connecticut.  In a do-it-yourself divorce, the parties represent themselves in the divorce action with the court.  They must complete legal documents, file motions, and address various issues in their marriage before a divorce can be finalized.

First, the parties must be aware of all filing deadlines involved in a divorce case.  Missing a deadline in the Connecticut courts may delay a case, or even result in a dismissal, meaning that the parties may have to file a new divorce and start from scratch.  Similarly, the parties should be early for court when needing to appear in person—never late.

As the parties discuss various issues in their divorce, they must make sure they have all necessary information to make any decisions.  For example, if the parties are dividing equity in the marital home, they must make sure that they have proper documentation on the home’s value and any mortgage balances before doing so.  Otherwise, they risk finalizing an issue in an incorrect manner.

The parties should try to work out an agreement as soon as they are able to make an informed decision on their disputes.  Certain issues may be addressed in a court order before the final divorce is finalized (ie. pendente lite), such as alimony and child custody.

The parties should keep copies of all their legal documents in one place as they go through their divorce.  Many parties misplace documents and must request new copies, slowing down progress in the case.

The parties must understand their obligations under the automatic court orders or other orders entered by a Judge.  Otherwise, they may be held in contempt of court.

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