by J. Tyler Cox

Our law offices receive several calls a day concerning Irreconcilable Differences Divorces. Many times however, potential clients have misconceptions about how the process of getting an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce actually works. This type of divorce is not as expensive as an “old-fashioned” divorce, which is an actual lawsuit against the other spouse. When both parties can agree on virtually everything when getting separated, Irreconcilable Differences Divorces can save time, money, and a lot of heartache in the long run. Although it is a less complicated form of divorce, there is a bit more that goes into it than most people think.

When people call our office they are surprised to find out the process of filing an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce, especially the amount of time it must be on the docket before it is decided. In Mississippi, an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce will not be finalized and ruled on until 60 days after it was filed. While this can be inconvenient for some expecting a quicker result, there is no way to make the Divorce final more quickly; 60 days from filing is the minimum amount of time that it will take to become officially divorced using an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce in Mississippi.

Another misconception about Irreconcilable Differences Divorces is that the divorce is more than just one document. Many people believe that all they need is one form to fill out and they are divorced. An Irreconcilable Differences is made up of several forms that can take some time to fill out. It is common practice for all of these forms to be filled out so that the complaint can be filed and the 60 days can begin. These five or more forms, which ensure that child support, spousal support, assets, and other factors are covered, make up the whole that is an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce and without them or an attorney to draw up these documents, a person can certainly get lost or intimidated when trying to do it themselves.

In court, we see several do-it-yourself husbands and wives get turned away by the judges when they present their final paperwork, as their paperwork is missing key elements and phrases that are required by law, and that particular court to be approved and signed by the judge assigned to the case.

Many times, we get calls from those same people, who are frustrated by the requirements, and simply want us to “fix” their paperwork.

As we often state in our legal seminars…’tis far better for you to bring an attorney into the case from the beginning…than to wait until the end and hire one to “fix” your mistakes.

Most importantly, it is a lot more expensive…as you are then paying an attorney by the hour to fix those errors…and may not always be able to take advantage of any “package deals” that attorney’s office may offer.

Using someone else’s divorce paperwork is also a risky move, as your circumstances and the divorced person’s circumstances could be vastly different…in so many ways…from retirement rights, children of the marriage and their ages, the way debts are titled in the marriage, and insurance issues.

Letting a paralegal “friend” do your paperwork for free is another bad idea…both for that paralegal and for you. The paralegal, by doing your paperwork without benefit of an attorney’s oversight…is essentially practicing law without a law license…and this is illegal in the State of Mississippi. It also puts that paralegal’s job at risk…as using an attorney’s work product (those divorce papers) without the attorney’s express permission is theft.

As you can see, an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce has a little more to it than commonly thought.

Misconceptions around an Irreconcilable Differences make it seem as though it is as easy as filling out one document. Even though it is certainly less expensive than an “old-fashioned” divorce, it is not just one simple form that can be signed and given to a judge. If you or someone you know is attempting to get divorced without contacting an attorney in order to save money, take a moment and consider this statement:

“You get what you pay for.”

Contact us at (228)224-6781 or for any comments or questions.