Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Divorce-Courtroom.jpg
Courtesy Getty Images

Do I need a divorce attorney is a question I hear often and I always attempt to impress on people the importance of retaining a divorce attorney to protect their legal rights during the divorce process. I know however that there are circumstances that make it impossible to hire a divorce attorney.

In such cases, it is possible to divorce without the benefit of an attorney. Doing so means familiarizing yourself with your state’s divorce laws, your counties court procedures, and filing and following through with all paperwork associated with your divorce.

There are benefits to hiring a divorce attorney; these are outlined below:

 

6 Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney:

 

1. A divorce attorney knows divorce law and stays up to date on changes in divorce law in your state. They also know how divorce is handled in your jurisdiction. You state has divorce laws, your particular jurisdiction has rules and regulations on how divorce is handled in your location. 

2. A divorce attorney knows how and when to file petitions and motions with the court. There is a lot of paperwork involved in starting the divorce process and throughout the process. A divorce attorney knows what to file, what to request and when. 

3. A divorce attorney has experience negotiating such issues as property division, spousal support and child custody. They can also guide you based on your state's laws pertaining to these divorce issues. 

4. A divorce attorney knows local judges and attorneys and is familiar with local court procedure.

An attorney will have been in and out of divorce court in your area for years. Their familiarity with local judges and other local attorneys can be a valuable tool when gauging how your case will proceed. 

5. A divorce attorney is an impartial 3rd party. Since they have no emotional investment in the case they have a clearer head when it comes to the legal issues.

You don't have to worry about a divorce attorney making decisions about your case based on emotions. With an attorney, it's all strictly business. 

6. Having a divorce attorney advocate for you in Family Court will lessen your level of stress. If you have a good attorney it will lessen your level of stress. Do your due diligence when hiring an attorney because, although there are benefits to having an attorney, nothing can work more against you than a bad attorney. 

There are benefits to going through a divorce without an attorney; these are listed below:

 

4 Benefits of Divorce Without an Attorney:

 

 

1. By going Pro Se during your divorce you save the cost of hiring a divorce attorney.

2. You retain more control over the direction your case goes in if you are willing to do the research needed to learn your state's divorce laws and how divorce is handled in your jurisdiction. 

3. You are aware of everything filed with the courts and have one on one contact with your spouse’s divorce attorney and court personnel who will be handling your paperwork.

4. You don't run the danger of contracting with an attorney who is more interested in prolonging the legal issues than settling your case. An adversarial divorce attorney can take a simple divorce case and turn it into years of conflict and litigation.

 

As you can see there are benefits to both hiring a divorce attorney or handling your divorce without one. I’ve done both and fared well on my own without an attorney. Being a Pro Se Litigant in family court is not a choice I would make again, though. It takes hours of work and focus, is very stressful and the last thing you need during the divorce process is more stress.

I suggest you hire an attorney if you have the financial resources but make sure you hire a divorce attorney who is invested in protecting you and your legal rights during the divorce process.