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Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?

Joliet, IL |
Filed under: Divorce

I am currently seperated from my husband for 6 months. We were married 13 years we have two boys 12 and 5 and are looking for joint custody with them. We were going to go to the court house and complete the paperwork for the divorce do you suggest we do that without a lawyer? The only thing that I feel I should get from the marriage other than joint custody and part of his settlement from his back surgery.

Attorney Answers 5


As attorney's, we always love to say that "we are always" needed. That's part of our trade. In all honesty, if both of you are 100% in agreement about EVERYTHING, and the judgment/MSA passes judicial scrutiny (This will depend on which judge you're assigned to), you probably don't need an attorney.

However, if there's a disagreement about parenting time, custodial decisions, child support, maintenance (alimony), retirement, settlements monies, property, debts, bank accounts, etc - then I suggest you at least talk to a family law attorney FIRST so you at least know what you're getting into.

If your issue is in WIll County and you're not sure who to talk to, Contact Sheila at the Will County Bar (Just a couple blocks north of the courthouse) for a referral. Plus referral consults are only $15 if done through the WCBA - which beats paying the going rate.

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Thank you so very much!


You really ought to have a lawyer even if just to assist you with the paperwork and to make sure all requirements are taken care of. Many times parties think they have addressed all issues when in fact they don’t realize they have not and later down the line they have to return to court.

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You would be foolish to proceed without an attorney.

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No, you do not NEED a lawyer; however, if you want to do everything properly and stay out of court in the future I suggest you use a lawyer. Those who want to save money by not using an attorney place themselves at a high risk of not doing everything correctly. Most attorneys draft the divorce documents so as there is little possibility for disagreement in the future. Right now you may both think that is not possible but believe me, you have kids who are still in grammar school. If one spouse or both get a new boyfriend or girlfriend or get remarried things can change real fast. The other, perhaps, more important reason to have an attorney is to have someone properly educate you about the law as it applies to all the issues in your case. Just because you use lawyers not mean you have to be contentious. Most cases are handled smoothly without a lot of drama involved in court. Unfortunately, you only hear about the really difficult cases. Lawyers can help your case move smoothly to a to a positive conclusion for both parties. There is also the option of using one lawyer who represents one of you and the other party represents themselves prose. This is a bit more economical.

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You will be best represented if you consult a lawyer. Even if you believe you and your husband have agreed upon all issues, such as custody, visitation, child support, maintenance and the distribution of your properties and debts, I would recommend consulting with an attorney in your area to either prepare the paperwork to be filed with the Court, or to review and approve the paperwork you and your husband have prepared.

Please let me know if you have any other questions that I might be able to assist you with.

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