You do not need a lawyer as you are able to proceed on your own. However, you should consult with an attorney to make sure you have an idea what you are entitled to before finishing the divorce. Good luck.
I have been a criminal defense attorney in New York for over 20 years. Feel free to view my website at Brooklynlaw.net or contact me either by phone at 718-208-6094 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This answer is only for informational purposes and is not meant as legal advice.
There is more to the proceeding than just the divorce. You have valuable rights that need to be protected. These can include: maintenance, custody/visitation of children, child support, division of marital property (assets and debts) etc. It is always a good idea to have an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney and choose to go at it alone you certainly have that right. I would suggest, though, that you at least consult with an attorney so that you can be familiar with the issues that may present themselves.
The question you need to answer is whether you are consenting to a divorce or to all the ancillary items including custody, child support, maintenance, equitable distribution and others. If all matters are agreed on then an attorney is not needed, however having an attorney review the agreement to ensure your rights are protected is never a bad idea.
If you are only consenting to a divorce but not to the other matters, an attorney should be contacted ASAP in light of the upcoming Preliminary Conference.
You never "need" to hire an attorney. Nevertheless, I would suggest that you consult with an attorney with regard to the implications and consequences of not "contesting," or simply agreeing to all of your spouse's demands. If a proposed Stipulation of Settlement exists, be sure to have it reviewed by the attorney of your choice, as the Court is not able to provide you with legal advice. Good Luck!
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