DIY Divorce, also known as “do-it-yourself divorce” and “pro se divorce” refers to the process of handling your own divorce, without the assistance of an attorney, mediator, or other divorce professional. In Utah, it is possible for couples to pursue a DIY divorce and there are a number of resources available to Utahns looking to handle their own divorce, one of which is Utah’s Online Court Assistance Program, also known as “OCAP.”
OCAP is Utah’s primary online self-help tool that helps individuals access and complete legal forms and documents. It is a valuable resource with numerous benefits. Here are a few of these benefits:
While Utah’s OCAP tool can be a helpful resource for divorcing couples, it’s important to be aware of its drawbacks when relying solely on this program as your only divorce resource.
It’s important to understand only a lawyer can give you legal advice--and everyone should get personalized legal advice from a lawyer. Period. This begs the question: how can a thrifty but clever DIYer successfully use OCAP while legally protecting themself? There are a two primary options:
With Divorce Like a Pro, you’ll learn how to determine what property of yours may be “marital” and, thus, subject to equitable division in divorce, and what property may be “separate” and, thus, not subject to division in divorce. You’ll also learn about the legal issues of child custody, child support, and alimony. You’ll learn how to allocate debt in divorce, how to divide assets such as retirement, your home or other real property, and much more.
Divorce Like a Pro walks you through our tried and true dispute resolution process, which is designed to save you the most timem and money, leaving litigation as a last resort. Enrollees will learn what a “fair” settlement may look like for them while getting access to the workshop’s many worksheets and checklists, our alimony calculator, and settlement division analyzer.
Then, at the end of the course you’ll be given an opportunity to receive a reduced-rate legal evaluation, document review, and settlement review with a seasoned divorce lawyer. This will help you to “lawyer up” without the full, frontal attack that often comes with lawyering up. Sometimes, just the involvement of lawyers on the surface can escalate a conflict and contribute to a breakdown in cooperation or communication.
By using Divorce Like a Pro, you can have a lawyer in your back pocket—to help you, coach you, and support you along the way without threatening the other side with litigation, court, and other legal woes.
Divorce lawyers are ethically restricted to provide only one side to a dispute with advice. So, your spouse will have to hire his/her/their own consulting lawyer for their own personalized legal advice. But when you each hire your own consulting attorney before signing on the dotted line, you can have peace of mind knowing you have had a professional oversee your divorce process, provide you with valuable advice, and safeguard your interests as well as the interests of your child.
Jennifer L. Neeley
Jennifer has helped thousands of people get divorced without fighting in court.
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