Divorce is not easy for anyone because of the many legalities involved. You may often wonder if you can handle your divorce case independently or whether you need to hire a divorce lawyer. If you and your spouse mutually agree to the divorce, then chances are you may be able to handle the divorce case. If there are many variables like alimony, child custody, and marital property involved, then you may have to take the help of a divorce attorney.
Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether You Should Hire a Divorce Lawyer
If you are filing for divorce and are confused whether you should handle the case on your own or hire an attorney, then ask yourself these questions:
Does Your Spouse Already Have an Attorney?
If you get served with divorce papers by your spouse’s attorney, you should immediately consult with an attorney yourself. Divorce laws vary from state to state. It can take you some time to understand these laws. The smallest of mistakes on your paperwork can have lifelong consequences. An experienced lawyer will explain your legal rights, guide you on your next steps, advocate on your behalf and get the best possible results for you.
Will You or Your Spouse Pursue a Fault Divorce?
Couples must have a strong reason for divorce when they file the case. Couples can file for divorce based on a no-fault ground. In such cases, spouses cite irreconcilable differences as the cause of the breakup. However, some states in the country also allow for fault-based divorces. This means one of the spouses’ behavior and actions led to the decision.
Fault divorce cases take longer to resolve because you have to provide strong evidence of the misconduct in court. You will need the help of a divorce attorney if your spouse is opting for a fault divorce. You will need someone with experience to build a strong case to prove that you are innocent and none of the allegations put forth by your spouse are true. Similarly, if you file for a fault divorce, the attorney can advise you on whether you have a strong case and help you prove your partner’s fault.
Do you Have Child Support and Custody Disagreements?
If you have minor children and are filing for divorce, you will have to make important child support and child custody decisions. If either of you doesn’t agree on child custody or support, you will need an experienced divorce lawyer to sort out the differences and help you get a satisfactory outcome.
Do You and Your Spouse Agree on Alimony?
Alimony refers to spousal maintenance or support that one spouse pays to another after a divorce. The higher-earning spouse usually pays it to help the unemployed or lower-earning spouse. If you and your spouse cannot agree to alimony, you will have to take the support of a divorce lawyer who understands all the complexities involved. The attorney can create a strong case for you and even represent you in court.
Do You Have Property to be Divided?
Any property you and your spouse purchase during your marriage are considered marital property. This must be divided between both of you at the time of divorce. In states that follow community property laws, marital property gets divided equally between the two parties. However, in states that follow equitable distribution, the property will be divided in a way the court deems fit. This need not always be a 50/50 division. Marital debts are also divided similarly. If there is a substantial amount of debt or property, then chances are there could be disagreements on its division. At such times, you should contact a divorce attorney who can act as a mediator and recommend a middle path for dividing the assets and debt.
Should You Hire a Lawyer or Handle the Divorce Yourself?
If you feel your case is relatively simple, with you and your spouse mutually agreeing to everything, then you may be able to handle the divorce case yourself. Even then, it would be better if you hired a lawyer to at least check the paperwork so that you don’t have to face trouble later during the case proceedings.
If you need a divorce lawyer, then an experienced divorce law firm like D’Angelo Lawyers can help you. The attorneys at this firm have years of experience. They will guide you on your legal rights and next steps throughout the divorce process.