The pitfalls of do-it-yourself property division

Who doesn’t want to save money? For many Florida residents, the prospect of divorce is closely associated with concerns about financial losses. Some couples choose to take a do-it-yourself approach to their divorce, rather than handing over their hard-earned money to a family law attorney. While this is an understandable concern, going it alone can mean hefty financial losses, especially when it comes to issues related to property division.

For example, consider the division of retirement assets. Even couples who agree on how to split retirement accounts can make costly mistakes that result in thousands of dollars in fines and tax penalties. A family law attorney can help a couple sort through all available property division options in an effort to reach a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. They can even help run the numbers to demonstrate the likely outcome of various approaches. 

If the goal of a DIY divorce is to save money, refusing legal advice is a questionable course of action. If mistakes are made, the resulting financial losses can far exceed the cost of a simple and collaborative divorce. It should also be noted that a great deal of DIY divorce advice available online is misleading at best and flat-out wrong at worst.

Hiring an attorney is not tantamount to waging war. A legal professional serves as a trusted advisor in all matters related to divorce, including property division. Plenty of amicable divorces are guided by attorneys. For those in Florida who want to work together to divide assets, a divorce attorney can be an invaluable resource.

Source:, “Splitting retirement accounts is tricky for DIY divorce“, Beth Pinsker, Nov. 26, 2017

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