If you're going through a divorce, or expecting to go through one, you might wonder if you can get an online divorce, whether it will be a contested or uncontested divorce, and most importantly, do you need a divorce lawyer?
The answer to that question depends on your case.
No two divorces are the same, and many different things affect whether you'll need to hire a lawyer. This article outlines the key things you should consider when making the decision.
Some divorces go smoothly and end in a mutual agreement outside of court. But in cases where you and your spouse disagree, a divorce attorney can advocate and negotiate on your behalf.
Of course, you may be able to work out those issues without an attorney. Mediation is a common alternative to hiring a lawyer. In fact, some states require couples seeking a divorce to complete mediation before courts will get involved. If mediation fails or isn't a good option, there are several things a divorce attorney can do for you.
An experienced divorce attorney will be able to tell you how likely it is you'll get what you're seeking in the divorce. An attorney can also help you devise a strategy for your case and give a rough timeline of how long it will take.
Trying to negotiate on your own when you're so invested can extremely hard. An attorney can make the process easier by handling communication and negotiation for you.
While you can complete divorce paperwork on your own, it's easy to make mistakes when you're not familiar with the legal system. An attorney works with court forms on a regular basis and will already know what to expect. They can make sure your divorce isn't delayed or complicated by problems with the paperwork.
Divorce paperwork is also extremely time-consuming. In addition to spending late nights completing forms correctly, people often have to take time off work to travel to the court house--to collect the proper paperwork and later to file it. This is especially frustrating for those who are paid hourly. People who DIY their divorces often say that they wish they would've known how much time the paperwork was going to take so they could've hired a lawyer to, at the very least, save that time.
The divorce process can bring up a lot of questions, like "who lives in the marital home during the divorce?" or "how will custody of children work?" Your attorney can file motions to establish resolutions answering these questions.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get your spouse to turn over financial information. An attorney can compel your spouse to provide information on their investments, retirement accounts, and pensions.
If your spouse has a business that you need valued for the division of assets, your lawyer can find a trustworthy business appraiser. Likewise, if your case goes to trial, your lawyer can bring in experts like psychologists or social workers to help make your case for custody.
Some divorce cases are more complicated than others. In some cases, not retaining a lawyer puts your financial future or your parental rights at risk. Below are some situations when hiring a divorce attorney is usually the best plan.
All divorces address division of property, division of debt, child custody, and spousal and child support. A contested divorce occurs when couples can't agree out of court on one or more of these issues. That means you'll have to go to court to resolve them. And a court battle is a high-stakes process that can be difficult to take on without a lawyer's help.
If your spouse is able prove some kind of wrongdoing, such as infidelity, you may want to hire a lawyer. This kind of evidence can hurt your chances of obtaining support, custody, or both.
If your spouse has a lawyer, you should think about hiring an attorney yourself. Remember that most divorce attorneys have handled hundreds of similar cases. Negotiating with an attorney without having similar experience puts you at a great disadvantage.
Once you get an attorney, your spouse's attorney is ethically forbidden from communicating with you without your own attorney's consent.
If you and your spouse can't agree on a custody arrangement, you'll need to prove that your proposal is in the best interest of your children. An attorney can help you hire experts, defend against any allegations of unfit parenting, and research any relevant information about your spouse.
The more extensive your assets and debt, the more you can benefit from an attorney's advice. Divorce settlements can have serious tax consequences that an attorney can help you prepare for, or even avoid.
If you and your spouse can agree on the major issues involved in your divorce outside of court, you may be able to avoid hiring a lawyer. But, the more contentious or complicated your divorce is, the more likely is it you'll need an attorney to protect your interests.
Divorce Contested divorce Who gets the house in divorce Child support Child custody Dividing property in a divorce Divorce and family Dividing assets in a divorce Child support and custody Parental rights in child custody Family law Working with a lawyer Mediation
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