Do I Need an Attorney for My Divorce?
Many couples debate whether they need a divorce attorney when mediation is required by the courts. The attorneys at the Roberts Family Law Firm recommend, at minimum, consulting with an attorney about your options and what is best for your case no matter how well you and your ex-spouse get along. Here are a few examples to consider if you are debating whether you should hire an attorney for your divorce.
- If you have many complicated assets to divide up. If you’ve accumulated various expensive marital property, you should consider hiring a lawyer. You will want to have a lawyer present if you have complicated possessions you are dividing, like businesses, numerous vehicles, and real property.
- If your spouse is prone to lying. If your former spouse is known to lie, it could become difficult when it is your word versus theirs in a hearing or mediation session. If they are spreading false information about you, or lying in the courtroom, you need a lawyer on your side to protect your interests.
- If violence or abuse is ever involved. If any abuse is present, whether it’s related to children, substance abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, or any other form, you should always hire an attorney. Not only will the abused spouse not be able to negotiate properly for fear of manipulation or further abuse, but an attorney can help take the appropriate steps to protect you and your family.
- If your spouse has hired an attorney. Your spouse may choose to hire a lawyer to represent themselves at the last minute. We see attorneys appear at hearings and mediations with little to no notice to the unrepresented spouse. If your spouse decides to have representation, you should as well. It will be difficult to make your case against a family law attorney, even if you believe you have a clear and reasonable argument.
When You May Need a Divorce Lawyer
There are certain situations when hiring a divorce lawyer makes sense, and you should probably do it. You should probably hire an attorney if:
- There’s a problem with abuse
- You think your spouse is lying about certain issues or being vindictive
- Your spouse has retained an attorney
- Your divorce involves children or complicated financial issues
If you’re not financially able to hire a divorce lawyer, you should contact your local legal aid office or a local bar association. You may be able to qualify to get free or reduced costs of legal representation. If you do not qualify, you may still be able to ask questions of an attorney throughout your divorce proceeding.
Reasons That You Need a Divorce Attorney
While a do-it-yourself divorce may be acceptable in some situations, but most people should consider hiring an attorney to represent his or her interests. Here are five reasons that a person should consider hiring an attorney during a divorce proceeding.
If you are seeking a divorce, you may be tempted to file for divorce on your own using court provided documents or information from a book or website. While a do-it-yourself divorce may be acceptable in some situations, most people should consider hiring an attorney to represent their interests. Here are five reasons that a person should consider hiring an attorney during a divorce proceeding.
An experienced attorney can help a person to make certain to receive everything that he or she deserves during a divorce. State laws do not necessarily support an even split of assets depending on the couple’s situation. In many cases, a spouse is even entitled to retirement or other income that the other spouse will receive in the future. If your marriage has any complicated issues to settle, an attorney can be an invaluable resource. For example, if there is child custody and support issues, substantial income, debts, assets or future assets (an inheritance, etc.) then you should hire an attorney to protect your interests in a divorce.
Divorce is a stressful time for everyone involved. Hiring an attorney to complete a divorce is one way to reduce the stress of the divorce. While the attorney will need to gather information from you, he or she will take care of almost everything else, allowing you more time to take care of yourself and your family. You have enough things to worry about when you are getting divorced, let an attorney take care of the legal work.
There are two primary reasons that people make mistakes when completing their own divorce: the legal system is complicated and the stress of the divorce makes it difficult to think clearly. If you simply forget to address an issue such as medical or credit card debt or if you underestimate or overestimate the value of an asset, you can make a significant mistake in a divorce proceeding. Such a mistake may cause financial harm or will require future legal proceedings to correct. By hiring an attorney, you can rest assured that you case is being properly handled the first time and that you are avoiding costly mistakes that you might regret for the rest of your life.
Clear and Binding Agreement
Though a court will review any divorce documents that you present, the court may not understand what you are trying to do on each point of the divorce. This may result in a divorce decree that states something other than what you intended. By using an attorney, you can be certain that the legal documents presented to the court will accurately state your wishes and that the divorce decree will be free of errors or unclear language that may make parts of the agreement difficult or impossible to enforce.
You are unfamiliar with matrimonial law and/or family court
In court, self-represented litigants are not given any special treatment; judges hold them to the same standards as the lawyer for the other side. Most judges are fairly patient people, but if you don’t know the law – or what documents you need, or even what to do next – you may be pushing the judge’s patience past the breaking point. The more annoyed a judge is, the less sympathetic he/she is likely to be. Family lawyers are experts in knowing what to say to make their case seem more reasonable than yours. Lawyers who focus on areas outside family law hire a family lawyer when they’re getting a divorce; they recognize that they’ll be out of their depth when faced with a lawyer who practices family law exclusively. So it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to adequately prepare to face the court process – and your spouse’s lawyer – by yourself. To make matters worse, you can jeopardize your entire case by saying or doing just one thing wrong.
Legal knowledge and support.
Divorce attorneys are professionals who understand divorce laws and what you are entitled to receive by law. To get the most beneficial terms possible out of your divorce (including child support, asset division, and child custody), work with a competent divorce lawyer.
Though a person may use court provided documents to file for divorce, there can still be problems with completing the proper forms and providing adequate information and documentation. A person who goes to court without legal counsel may find that problems with the paperwork or other issues may result in a delay in the court’s ruling. This may substantially delay the date that the divorce is final. By hiring an attorney, a person can avoid paperwork or other problems that could cause a delay and get the divorce completed as quickly as possible.