The decision of whether or not to hire an attorney for a divorce in California is a difficult one. On one hand, you may wish to save money by handling your case on your own. On the other, you may be in over your head and make a serious mistake that compromises your future by representing yourself. Learning when it is best to hire a family law attorney can help you make the right decision.
Do I Need an Attorney for an Uncontested Divorce?
There are two types of divorce cases in California: contested and uncontested. A contested divorce means that you and your spouse do not agree on major decisions such as child custody, visitation, alimony and property division. This could lead to the case going to trial to be determined by a judge. If you have an uncontested divorce, however, you and your spouse are able to communicate, compromise and agree on the details of the split.
In general, if you have an uncontested divorce case, you may not need an attorney. You and your spouse may be able to come up with a divorce settlement agreement without needing advice or assistance from a lawyer. This is especially true if you have a simple divorce case with no children and only minor assets, and if you get along with your spouse.
The California courts have self-help divorce resources to guide you through the legal process if you’re trying to do it alone. You can download the forms that you need to file your divorce petition in Orange County and get general information and advice without paying for a lawyer. It is critical not to make the mistake of representing yourself during a more complicated divorce case, however, as this could have serious ramifications.
Are Attorneys Needed in a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce case means that you and your spouse cannot agree on large matters, including custody, visitation and splitting assets. In this scenario, it is advisable to hire an attorney. An attorney can help you come up with creative solutions that work for the entire family while minimizing conflict and the emotional toll of a divorce. This may enable you to come to a settlement agreement with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse.
If you and your spouse cannot reach a divorce settlement, an attorney can represent you during a divorce trial in Orange County. Legal representation during a trial can be critical for correctly navigating the legal process and effectively stating your case before a family court judge. The assistance that you receive from a divorce lawyer during a trial can make an enormous difference on the outcome of your case. It is especially important to hire a lawyer when you have a lot on the line, such as custody of your children or high-value assets.
Schedule a Consultation With an Attorney in Orange County
It may be best to have an attorney representing your rights and best interests during negotiations with your spouse or his or her lawyer if you are having trouble agreeing on the terms of your divorce. It may also be wise to hire a lawyer if you have a particularly complicated divorce or legal separation case, such as complex property, a jointly owned business or a special-needs child.
If you are unsure whether or not you could benefit from hiring an attorney for your divorce case, contact Boyd Law to request a consultation. You can speak directly to a family law attorney over the phone or in person about the specifics of your case to receive honest and trustworthy legal advice. We offer initial consultations at no obligation to hire our law firm. We will let you know if we believe you can successfully handle your case on your own or if you need a family law attorney. Call (949) 753-1028 or fill out our online form for more information today.