The economy in the United States has recently experienced a recession, and the past several years have raised budgeting consciousness for many couples in Georgia. Whether this increased attentiveness to savings was due to need or a voluntary decision, more people are paying attention to how much things cost. Even coupons have found a regenerated popularity.

One way that individuals are saving money is by utilizing websites such as eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, where goods or services are offered at a discount. Even divorce services are available on Craigslist, but these offerings could involve the unauthorized practice of law. This not only leaves individuals unprotected but could cost them much more in the end.

An investigative news team out of Texas took a hard look into these Craigslist ads and interviewed attorneys with the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.

What the investigators found was that there were many ads offering the sale of documents required for a DIY divorce. What is wrong with this? Well, it isn’t illegal behavior, but these documents are often available for free on a government-sponsored website.

The second types of ads were ones that not only offered to provide these documents, but they also promised to provide advice and assistance in drafting a divorce settlement — for a fee of course. This is where the unauthorized practice of law comes into play.

Both of these options might cost a couple a little less money at the outset, but neither of these options leave a couple in a good position. Whether going the DIY route or listening to the legal advice of those without legal training, a couple isn’t getting experienced or knowledgeable divorce help concerning the valuation of assets, equitable division or even available options.

Guess what? Those that use either of these two options are still entering into a legally binding commitment. While changes can be made, they must be done in the court system. Mistakes made during the drafting of a divorce settlement create a cost of their own, but they can also cost a lot to try to undo.

The moral of this investigative story? Sometimes quality really does pay off.

Source: KRIS-TV, “6 Investigates Follow Up: Unauthorized Practice of Law Cases,” Janine Reyes, Aug. 21, 2013