There aren’t ever black and white answers to questions regarding whether or not you should seek the help of an attorney for legal matters. In some scenarios, a lawyer may be unnecessary. In others, a lawyer can significantly increase your chances of protecting your rights and achieving your desired outcome. In a divorce case, knowing whether or not you need an attorney depends on a variety of personal, financial, and legal factors.
What is at Stake?
Divorces that involve high-value assets, prenuptial agreements, spousal support, and children are typically better off with legal representation. Complex divorces go much smoother with the specialized attention of a family law attorney. Representing yourself in these cases can result in losing some or all your assets and rights as a parent. If your divorce involves parenting plans and custody agreements, protect your relationship with your children by investing in a lawyer.
On the other hand, if your divorce doesn’t involve any complex assets or troublesome issues or there isn’t a lot at stake, you can most likely manage your divorce by yourself. In these cases, working out the terms of the divorce with your spouse can be simple. Making divorce decisions by yourself can avoid courts and lawyers, perhaps lessening the emotional toll of the situation. In non-complex divorces, obtaining a written judgment from court that declares your marriage has ended is all you need to be single again.
What Does Your Relationship Look Like?
Take a look at your relationship. Are you amicable with your spouse or do you have trouble communicating? In contentious cases, or those likely to involve an argument with your spouse, it’s advisable to hire an attorney. If you don’t think you and your spouse will be able to work together and agree on divorce decisions, trust an attorney to negotiate the terms of the split instead. You and your spouse will be happy to avoid major arguments, especially if children are around.
If there is abuse involved in your divorce – domestic abuse, substance abuse, child abuse – hire an attorney. It may be impossible for you to negotiate your divorce successfully on your own if you are the victim of abuse. An attorney can arrange for protection for you and your family and take care of complicated decisions. If your spouse is vindictive, dishonest, or you suspect he or she is hiding assets, hire an attorney to protect your best interests.
Does Your Spouse Have an Attorney?
If your soon-to-be ex has hired an attorney, even the playing field with one of your own. Your spouse hiring an attorney is a good indication that he or she is after important assets or a special custody agreement. Instead of attempting to go head-to-head with your spouse’s professional attorney on your own, arm yourself with a family law attorney in California. You may also want to consider hiring an attorney for help with certain parts of the process instead of full representation.
What is Your Understanding of the Law?
You may benefit from hiring an attorney even during simple divorces if you have a minimal understanding of the laws in California. Each state has its own rules for dissolution of marriage, including residency and filing requirements. Learn the basics of divorce law in California and find out if you believe it’s something you can handle on your own. You may feel more comfortable entrusting the process to an attorney instead.
If your divorce is getting the best of you and you simply can’t cope with it anymore, get experienced help. An attorney can take care of difficult details for you and protect your rights during a divorce.