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You don't know what you don't know: Pitfalls of DIY divorce

Marriage is difficult, but many things can be worked through. Others such as infidelity, hidden gambling addictions, abuse or significantly differing approaches to parenting are too much. A split may be amicable or become heated as communication breaks down.

Throw into the mix discussion about children or money and it is a recipe for conflict. Where do you start? How long will the process take? Are there any additional hurdles when you have children?

The quickie divorce does not exist in Louisiana. One year of separation is required when you have children. The foundation for child custody and child support is created during the divorce process. If try to do things yourself - learning as you go - it can be near impossible to go back and fix mistakes.

Costly mistakes with child support

You might be able to find the child support guidelines. If your combined adjusted gross income is $5,750 and you have two children, the presumed child support is $1,353. But this is not the end of the analysis.

What if an ex- has income that he or she does not disclose? Who pays for sports fees or college costs down the road? Make a mistake on child support and you may struggle to pay your monthly bills. An omission could mean you have a fight each time a new expense comes up.

Child custody: Why templates can cause problems

One-size-fits-all rarely works for everyone and this is especially the case when it comes to custody. The standard custody arrangement generally includes every other weekend visits. Longer visits over holidays or summer vacation and a weeknight evening or overnight stay depending on the proximity of each parent's homes.

Depending on how well you get along with the other parent, you may need a more detailed plan or something with flexibility. You must consider the needs of your children and how they will change over the years.

This is an area where what you don't know or can't anticipate can really hurt. It may even affect your relationship with your children. An attorney who has worked with families may be able to identify concerns and address them early on.

No cookie-cutter solutions

While you might fear that you cannot afford the costs of an attorney, at Jeremy Epstein Law LLC we offer flat rates on some services and payment plans. Unlike many law firms, our attorney does not hand you off to a paralegal after the initial consultation. When your financial future and relationship with the kids is in jeopardy, make a free initial appointment to find out how we can help.

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