Article authored by Durban Divorce Attorney - Fawzia Khan
Denise French, a US based divorce attorney cautions against the use of a do- it- yourself divorce. One of the main reasons why this option is very often considered is due to the lack of funds in hiring an attorney to get professional help. However, if things go wrong, especially if children are involved you could end paying far more than you bargained for.
Ms. French uses the example of a client and his ex-wife who were both very intelligent and educated individuals, who decided to do their own parenting plan so that they could save some money. However as neither had any knowledge of the legal implications contained in that document, some of the provisions they included were regarded as vague, incomplete and nonsensical. And while the parenting plan initially worked, once her client got engaged, their co-parenting relationship took a turn for the worse and they ended up having many arguments on parenting their children.
Due to the way the document was drafted, the client’s ex-wife eventually took control over both her days and those of the client’s. She says that for years her client was unable to book travel or buy tickets to a concert in advance for fear that it would interfere with the calendar and he would lose parenting time. The document gave the Mother superior decision making authority which the client only realised far too late, after he signed it.
The parenting plan they signed included a clause that said “Both parents will make major educational and medical decisions together…If the parents do not reach an agreement then: Mother will make decision.” The client failed to understand that by his ex-wife putting a checkmark in the optional election for one parent to make final decisions that he had given her superior decision-making authority. She held this authority over his head any time they were contemplating a major decision with the children, stating that while she’d listen to his input, she’d ultimately make the decision. This left the client feeling helpless and basically stripped of his parental rights. The client and his ex-wife ultimately ended up hiring attorneys and going to court to hash out a more reasonable and enforceable parenting plan as the ex-wife was unwilling to give up her superior decision-making authority.
Getting the right attorney to represent you in your divorce is crucial to ensure that you make the best decisions both for yourself and your children for now and the future. Even if you and your ex are still on good terms with each other, it’s worth having an attorney go through any agreement that you and your ex have discussed, so that any pitfalls later on can be avoided.
Get the right attorney on your side. At Fawzia Khan and Associates, we have years of experience in divorce and related matters and we are willing to offer payment terms to settle the divorce costs.
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