Under certain circumstances, you may wonder if you need to hire an attorney to handle your divorce. Technically, the law does not require either party to a divorce to retain legal counsel, which means that you do have the option to represent yourself, as does your spouse.
There may be situations in which hiring your own attorney doesn’t make sense, such as when you have only been married for a short time. In this instance, you and your spouse may have no children together and little if anything in the way of marital property. If you and your spouse have already worked out the issues on your own and just need help with drafting the divorce agreement, retaining more than one attorney may not make sense.
Though not required by law, hiring a divorce attorney can benefit you in most cases. Here are some reasons to consider it.
1. Understanding Your Legal Rights
Divorce can be very complicated, especially if you are unfamiliar with the laws of your jurisdiction. If you do not understand what you are entitled to, it can be more difficult to adequately represent your interests when you go to court. You may end up with less than you deserve in the interest of expediting your divorce or saving money on attorney’s fees.
2. Working Out Custody Arrangements
A custody decision depends on many different factors. The child’s interests are the guiding principle in all states. However, you also have rights as a parent. An attorney who understands the factors that go into child custody determination can help defend your rights in court.
3. Property Division
Property division is more difficult when your finances are complex or you and your spouse have high assets. The fairest possible division of assets depends on obtaining an accurate picture of your spouse’s finances. A divorce attorney has the knowledge and resources available to conduct the necessary research thoroughly.
4. Spousal Support
Also called alimony, spousal support is money that one ex-spouse pays to the other to help the recipient become self-supporting. Unlike child support, it is up to the court’s discretion to decide whether to award alimony and in what amount. Your attorney can help you negotiate an arrangement that is fair to you.
The terms of your divorce settlement will affect you for the rest of your life. Therefore, it deserves some time and deliberation with guidance from an experienced professional.