3 Ways Legal Forms Are Making Your Life Harder

Poindexter knows that he’s very intelligent. If he didn’t want such a lucrative job in a high paying field, he may have even decided to go to law school. The catch is that he’s smarter than that. He realizes that the legal field is flooded with sharp legal minds that have nowhere to go once they graduate. Instead, he went into a field where he was guaranteed a good job. That good job takes up a lot of his time and his marriage has really begun to deteriorate. Besides that, he also doesn’t really get how to relate to his wife lately. They sit down and decide on how they want to split everything up. They just don’t understand why they should have to pay for some lawyer to submit all this stuff when they can go through the hoops and find out exactly what they need with a bit of due diligence. So they do just that.

They log onto one of those websites with the forms they can download and start divvying up their lives. They aren’t too sure what their legal rights are, but they don’t care. This is amicable. They submit everything by hand at the clerk’s office and wait. Then they get a letter stating they left out a few forms. They submit those forms after more work and they wait. A year later, they’re still wondering why everything is tied up in the legal system. They’re not sure why the divorce hasn’t gone through.

They finally call attorneys because they just don’t get why everything is taking so long. They ask for help to fix what they’ve done. The attorneys file the extra forms, fix some wording they know their particular judge likes, and get everything they want to go through. However, at this point, the amicable way they were in the beginning is long gone. He realized he can’t live with the high amount of alimony, the custody agreement where he barely sees his children, and missing his dog that he also gave her custody of during negotiations. Then, BAM! The agreement is in place. Now Poindexter is furious. These stupid attorneys messed up everything. What Poindexter doesn’t realize is just this:

  1. Legal forms are not tailored to individual situations. Lawyers have their job because they look at where you are, what your life is like, and where you want your life to go. At that point, they choose the right path for you. They explain the process to you, and help you achieve your end goal. Just like an appendectomy isn’t the right thing for a bummed knee, sometimes what you google on those legal form websites isn’t going to fix your problem either. Further, lawyers aren’t just forms. The smartest people out there have lawyers because they need their protection. Do you think that Bill Gates would just represent himself in a matter? No, he wouldn’t. Why (Because he can afford any attorney…?) No, because he’s pretty smart. He knows better. You should too.
  2. A good lawyer knows the law, a great lawyer knows the Judge. Do you as a lay person know what each Judge that may possibly get your case will want going forward? Do you know what language is preferred depending on your Judge? Do you know what additional documents you’ll have to sign to make sure your divorce is final? The answer is an astounding probably not. The amount of phone calls attorneys get asking for what forms are necessary for a divorce are quite hilarious because some judges want additional hoops for you to jump through. We in the legal community talk to each other and the Judge’s offices about what they want and how they want it submitted. We know depending on your judicial assignment how long your divorce will probably take. You pay us for our knowledge of the system, the law, and our ability to push what you want through the system.
  3. You should know what you’re messing up. If you want to sign an agreement that is unfair to you, you should at least talk to a lawyer so you know exactly how unfair and ridiculous it really is. If you’re going to be a fool, at least be one that’s educated and being kind, not one that thinks it seems sorta fair and just wants it over with. The last thing you want is to get frustrated and give away everything without a second thought, only to end up trapped in something you can’t live with.
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