Even in a divorce that seems simple, a little mistake can cause big problems. Most people aren’t experts in family law, and it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Here are the most common mistakes that people make when they handle their own divorce in North Carolina:
They forget to preserve claims
Your initial filing documents are very important. If you leave important things out of your filing paperwork, you may lose the opportunity to ask for those things. Alimony is one thing to be sure to include in your first paperwork if there’s even the smallest chance that you’re going to want it.
You must also ask for an equitable distribution of the assets as well as primary or joint custody if you want to preserve the right to ask the court to award it. When you’re the one responding to the initial complaint, the same rule applies. It’s important to include everything you might want as a result of the divorce in your initial court filings.
They don’t serve papers properly
There are strict rules for how to give the other side a copy of the paperwork. Giving the other side a copy of the paperwork is called service of process. It’s not enough to put the paperwork in the mail or leave it on the dining room table. There are specific rules for who can serve the paperwork, how to serve it and how to prove that you served it. If you make mistakes, you may face delays in your divorce proceeding.
They leave things out of their judgment
Just like your initial filing documents are important, your final judgment of divorce is important. The judgment must list every asset and every debt that you want to include in the divorce. Don’t forget to include retirement accounts and pension accounts. Once a divorce is final, it’s hard to change. It’s important to draft your final judgment carefully and read it many times to ensure its completeness and accuracy.
How an attorney can help
Getting divorced is one of the biggest life changes you’ll ever experience. Errors can drag out your divorce proceedings and prevent you from getting the justice that you deserve. Having an experienced attorney on board can help you make sure that you’re taking the right steps to protect your rights. No matter where you’re at in your case, your attorney can help you make sure that you’re asserting your rights and avoiding critical errors as you work towards your final judgment of divorce.