Divorce disrupts nearly every aspect of your life, including your finances. It can be tempting to forgo an attorney to avoid the extra cost. However, divorcing without an attorney has many disadvantages and may even cost you more money in the long run. Let’s look at some of the ways divorcing without legal representation could put you at a disadvantage.
Without legal representation, you are responsible for all the paperwork. There are multiple forms to fill out and file. Even just figuring out which forms apply to your situation can be confusing. If you get it wrong, you could delay the process and may even have to pay filing fees more than once.
Your divorce attorney will handle all this for you. They will meticulously review everything to make sure it is correct. Their legal training means they understand which forms are necessary for your specific situation and in what order. They will make arrangements to serve the other party with paperwork, ensuring that process is done according to the legal requirements.
Your divorce lawyer will also review the paperwork filed by the other party’s legal team to confirm everything is in order. Missing something here could affect your settlement or cause problems down the line. A lawyer helps ensure that doesn’t happen.
Divorce is already a time of great stress. Dealing with the changes in your finances and life circumstances can feel like a huge weight. If you are simultaneously trying to keep track of paperwork deadlines, understand legal jargon, and worry about what your former spouse’s approach is going to be, you’ve added additional stress at a time when you are likely already at your limit.
An experienced family law and divorce attorney has worked on dozens of divorces. That means they know what to expect and can help you navigate the legal and emotional roller coaster of ending your marriage.
Knowing you have someone in your corner to manage the process and look out for your best interests means one less thing to worry about as you move toward your new, single life.
Looking out for Your Interests
You don’t know the legal system; your lawyer does, which means they know what pitfalls to avoid and what beneficial requestions you might be omitting. Self-representing parties can miss opportunities in the legal system or overlook items that could have worked out in their favor.
When vagaries in language can entirely change meanings, you want someone who understands the law and has seen enough divorces that they know what to look for. For example, your custody agreement may say the children need to be back to you on Sundays, which may seem reasonable to you. However, your Ex could drop them off at 11:59 pm Sunday evening and still be adhering to the order. But if the agreement is written in a way that allows it, you may have little recourse. A lawyer knows to be more specific to avoid some traps a layperson might miss.
Divorce attorneys will also have familiarity with the tax implications of various settlement details, which could save you from a nasty surprise come tax day.
Is the inheritance you received from your uncle joint property? Do you qualify for spousal support, and if so, how much? Is an IRA account in your spouse’s name joint property if it was funded during the marriage? These types of questions come up when you are trying to divide your assets. An attorney is familiar with the rules of your jurisdiction. They can help you get the best financial situation possible as you exit your marriage and in the years ahead.
If you decide not to hire a lawyer in order to save money, you could end up with less than if you had paid for an attorney to advocate on your behalf. What you pay in legal fees may be far less than the additional money and assets your lawyer can get as they fight relentlessly for your rights.
Protecting Your Family
Child custody is something you can’t afford to get wrong. Divorcing without an attorney is gambling on your future situation with your children. An attorney knows what the courts look for when making custody decisions and understands the nuances of terminology. They will fight on your behalf to get you as close as possible to the situation you feel is best for your children.
Their representation can be what allows you to maintain a say in your children’s medical decisions or the right to see them on meaningful holidays. Your lawyer will also use their understanding of the local laws and guidelines to get you the most advantageous child support plan.
When it comes to visitation, expenses, and decision-making for your children, it’s not the time to look for ways to save money. Your lawyer can work to get you more time with your children and can save you money over the long term with their advice on child support.
The guidance of an attorney will make your divorce more manageable, less stressful, more transparent, and often less expensive over time. A time when you are already experiencing so many drastic changes may not be the best time to hone your legal skills. Hiring a Davis County divorce attorney means you have someone fighting for you and taking care of the details, so you can focus on healing and moving on.