I see a lot of Google ads for something called an “online divorce.” And as a Chicago divorce lawyer you can contact here, I sometimes get inquiries from people asking me how to get an online divorce. I guess they want one because they think it is the cheapest way to get a divorce in Illinois.

Here’s the problem – there is no such thing as an online divorce. This is true whether you want a divorce in Chicago, Evanston, Naperville, Schaumburg, Joliet, or anywhere else in Illinois.

Those companies that purpose to offer online divorces do nothing more than ask you a few questions, feed your answers into a form, then spit out some paperwork. You never talk to a lawyer. That’s a dangerous way to get a divorce.

Many people ask me  . . .

Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?

The answer is no. But then again, you don’t really need a pilot to fly a plane – if you like living on the wild side. Look, no one wants to spend money  to pay anyone to do anything. That’s common sense. But if you use a so-called “online divorce” company to help you prepare paperwork so that you can represent yourself in a divorce, you could be doing something that will negatively impact you for year to come.

Have you ever done a brake job on a car? No? Well next time your brakes squeak, do yourself a favor and take the car to a mechanic. Next time you need a divorce, find a divorce lawyer.

It might just help you . . .

Avoid problems with a divorce in Illinois

Even when highly intelligent clients tell me that they have worked out everything with their spouses, it never fails that upon further prompting from me, they learn that they have not actually discussed all relevant issues with their spouse. Or sometimes, they learn they have barely touched on issues that must be discussed in much greater detail.

Here are a few examples of how a lawyer can help you avoid problems:

  • Child custody: Instead of guessing at the implications of joint legal custody versus sole legal custody, a lawyer can explain it to you and talk over your options
  • Child visitation: A lawyer can help you avoid agreeing to something that will likely be problematic in the future.
  • Dividing assets and debts: If you don’t cover all your bases, it could cost you big money in the future. A lawyer can help you make sure you don’t get stuck with debt you don’t want, for example
  • Dealing with a house: Sometimes people getting a divorce don’t know how to handle the marital home. A lawyer can help draft an agreement that protects against unexpected liability.