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DIY divorce: don't do it

Building your own computer; constructing a planter out of old boards; putting together a tiny ship inside a bottle; and burning your family name and coat of arms into a piece of wood. All of these things are among the many excellent do-it-yourself projects people in Alpharetta take on from time to time.

One DIY project experts warn you stay away, from however, is a do-it-yourself divorce. Child custody and property division disputes can be especially difficult for a layperson to tackle with little more than Google and an online divorce kit.

Even the state of Georgia warns people away from venturing into divorce -- one of life's most challenging experiences -- without talking to a family law attorney first. "Lawyers often see trouble areas that you won't recognize at first and push divorce proceedings along more efficiently," the state says on its website.

"It is the rare circumstance that a do-it-yourself divorce is feasible," they say at divorcedmoms.com. The rare exceptions would be for those couples married a week or so, and those who have no property or children or debt. For those with either property or kids or debt, the DIY approach can be very expensive, the site says, even though the upfront payment might be small.

Consider this possibility, the site urges: there's a mortgage and one spouse agrees to take the house and the other one gets a payment. The person without the house can be held liable for the mortgage if their former spouse doesn't make payments.

Another possibility worth pondering: let's say you agree to a settlement in which your spouse is to pay you $100,000 per year for a decade -- and then doesn't make payments. You might have to sue to get payment -- and sue each and every time he or she doesn't pay, which could be monthly.

An experienced family law attorney knows how to construct property settlements that protect you, your family and your future. Contact our office for more information.

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