Whether you’re going through a divorce, a custody battle, or any other situation, family court can be a challenge, both emotionally and energetically. It might take more emotional energy than you think to get through your case.
Family court will tax your energy
The emotional energy you’ll spend throughout a family court case is exactly why you need an attorney to help. While you have the option of representing yourself, that’s not usually the smartest decision. Family law is complex and a positive case outcome that usually requires the expertise of a skilled family attorney.
Without an attorney, you risk getting the short end of the stick when it comes to situations that require negotiation and compromise. This can leave you feeling bitter and resentful if you’re not okay with the outcome.
For example, if you’re getting a divorce, you might end up with an arrangement to sell property you love, and without a lawyer, you won’t know how to come to a different agreement.
Not observing the rules of evidence can be costly
When you represent yourself in family court, you won’t have the knowledge of how to adhere to the rules of evidence. For instance, you can’t just produce evidence for the first time during a trial without giving the other party a copy beforehand. Not only that, but if you don’t follow the proper procedures for presenting your arguments according to the evidence, you’ll frustrate the judge.
It’s entirely possible for you to lose your family law case if you lack the experience required to get through the process on a procedural level.
Negotiating requires emotional stability
Another thing to consider is just how much emotional stability and objectivity is required to negotiate certain things. For example, say you were married for 30 years and you’re now getting divorced. You’re going to be emotional about splitting up your property.
Although there are probably things you’re really attached to, it’s not just about the property. Building a life with someone is something you never expect to disintegrate, and splitting up property will feel like a big blow.
When you have an attorney helping you with property distribution, you can tell them when something bothers you and doesn’t seem fair and they will do their best to negotiate a better deal for you. With an attorney, you’ll spend far less emotional energy during the entire process.
You may not know what’s possible
Not knowing what’s possible is one of the worst things in a family law case. When you don’t know what your options are, you’ll settle for far less than you deserve. This is often how people get the short end of the stick.
For example, say you’re getting divorced and don’t realize you can negotiate to keep one of your rental properties as your home because you make less money than your ex-partner. You’ll either end up in a buyout or sell the property. In that case, you’ll have to look for a new house, expending even more energy in the process.
You may not know what’s fair
If you don’t know what’s fair when you enter the courtroom, you might miss out on getting a better bargain. For instance, child custody cases are notorious for being difficult when parents want to dictate the days and times they get their kids with extreme specificity.
Judges don’t always agree with picky parents, especially when it’s possible for them to rearrange their schedule to accommodate your needs. For example, if your ex-partner doesn’t want to have your child on Wednesdays because that’s when they take dance lessons, a judge may not care about that.
In the eyes of a judge, a child’s best interests will always come first. Work schedules will always be considered, but leisure time activities will take a back seat. However, if you don’t have the courage to object to picky requests, you might end up agreeing to a custody schedule that you regret.
You might be the target of bias
Sometimes family court is a struggle simply because of bias. For instance, if you’re the father, you’re already facing an uphill battle in a child custody case. It’s not fair, but judges tend to be biased in favor of the mother. There’s nothing you can do about this, which makes having an attorney even more important.
Always get a lawyer for family law matters
No matter what type of family law case you’re dealing with, don’t skip getting legal representation. Family law is complex and what you don’t know can hurt you.