Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce?

It is important to protect your legal rights during the divorce process. Hiring a divorce lawyer offers many advantages:

  • They know the law and stay up to date on changes in divorce law.
  • They know how and when to file petitions and motions with the court.
  • They have experience property division, spousal support and child custody.
  • They know local judges and are familiar with local court procedure.

On the other hand, if you go without a divorce lawyer:

  • You save the cost of attorney fees.
  • You retain more control over your negotiation and legal strategy.
  • You are intimately aware of everything filed with the courts.

Both parties are best served if you and your spouse work out thorny issues together, perhaps with help of a mediator. Both of you keep control over how your children will be raised, what happens to the family home, and how your property will be divided. If you and your spouse can work these issues out, you will save yourselves time, money, and anguish. More importantly, you will spare your children the torture of extended parental fights.

Mediators may be able to help both spouses get over anger and emotion and negotiate a sensible divorce agreement that meets both of your needs. Unlike lawyers, mediators work with both spouses at the same time. They don’t represent an individual spouse’s interests in the way a lawyer would. Instead, mediators facilitate a negotiation between the spouses.

Some divorce lawyers make it a practice to be as aggressive as possible; if your spouse finds a lawyer with those tendencies, you may have to fight fire with fire. In these cases, the battle can go on and on until the legal fees mount and both spouses are ready to sue for peace.

On the other hand, it makes a lot of sense to hire a lawyer if there is a real problem with abuse, whether spousal, child, sexual, or substance abuse. A lawyer can help arrange the necessary protection for an abused spouse and the children. It also makes sense to hire a lawyer if your spouse is being dishonest or vindictive and you need someone to protect your interests. It’s prudent to hire a lawyer if your spouse has an attorney.

If you fear that your spouse might harm you or your children, move to a safe place and consider a temporary restraining order to keep your spouse away. If you need money, you have the right to use your joint accounts. Take the amount of money you realistically need, plus some extra for emergencies.


Source: 1-2-Law:

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