Divorce decisions: When do you need an attorney?

How do you know whether you need an attorney for your divorce? That’s a question that we get a lot, we see on social media of people posting, people trying to, or looking at exploring, possibly doing it themselves.

There are some divorce cases that are relatively straightforward. Perhaps the parties, the spouses, don’t really have much together, they haven’t been married very long, they don’t have any children. In that case, possibly it can be done without the assistance of an attorney. Now when you do that, you still may do stuff wrong because it’s not a straightforward simple process, even when the facts are pretty narrow.

Typically, you’re going to want to have an attorney assist you, even if you’ve agreed on everything. You want that agreement to be clear, you want that agreement to be enforceable and you want to get through the process that a qualified and experienced attorney can help you through the process much easier, much smoother. Obviously, there’s expense associated with hiring an attorney, you’re not required to have an attorney, so you can do it yourself. I liken that to kind of packing my own parachute. I don’t know how to do it, I’ve never done it before, but I think I’m going to jump out of an airplane and I’m going to trust my own packing the parachute to get me safely to the ground. 

Divorce cases can have a lot of very important factors involved; things like children, alimony, or custodial arrangements. Experienced and qualified attorneys know all of those different contingencies and know how to address them so that even if there’s an agreement, everyone is on the same page and that agreement is not subject to interpretation, manipulation, and people not abiding by the terms of the agreement. If there’s not an agreement and there’s a fight over one or more of the issues that can come up in the divorce, having an experienced and qualified attorney on your side to help advise you and advocate for you is really a critical and responsible step that you should take.