The clever title to this blog was proposed by an attorney friend of mine that handles some family law matters, but practices extensively in other areas of law.
We were recently discussing how “No Fault” cases get derailed. While Mississippi is technically not a true “No Fault” state, there are provisions for an Irreconcilable Differences divorce. (commonly referred to as “No Fault,” blogged prior.)
We were discussing what gets them off track. The parties, after getting over the initial shock of divorce, decide they will be adults and agree. They think they can agree to the divorce and resolve their differences. After all, they did manage to get along for 9 years, have two kids and bought a house. What could go wrong? Perhaps they searched online and looked at divorceyourself.com. A very risky idea!
Well, the old adage that the devil is in the details is never truer than in divorce. The No Fault idea gets derailed when the fellow realizes he will have to pay 20% of his income towards child support, plus health insurance and alimony. Yikes! He realizes it’s cheaper to keep her. (sorry for the cliché) The wife gets squirrely when she realizes that her half of the retirement account is consumed by balancing the equity in the house, or that the money she gets cannot be realized without significant tax consequences.
Parties to a divorce don’t realize child support is until 21, not 18 in Mississippi. They don’t know the types of custody, or what that means. They agree to things that they cannot legally agree to and fail to consider the consequences. They agree to “legal terms” that do not exist in Mississippi law, because they saw it online. And lastly, one of them is finally convinced to see an attorney by a close friend or family member and when they do and realize the consequences of what they were about to do and back out, the other side becomes angry and backs out too. All of a sudden an easy deal becomes complicated, expensive and adversarial.
Want to keep your situation from going from No Fault to Yo’ Fault? Do your homework, have an assessment with an attorney that practices family law, keep the peace, and be smart.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney that can handle your divorce whether it’s your fault, their fault, or somebody else’s. Trust the Bow Tie.
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