Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?
When a couple is contemplating a divorce, each spouse obviously has the option to hire a divorce lawyer. The cost of a lawyer will vary depending on the complexity of the case, as will the value of the services they provide. In very simple cases, neither party might actually need a lawyer, in more complicated instances, legal representation could be extremely important to each side.
The fact that divorce laws vary from state to state also affects the complexity of a divorce. In Washington, for instance, it is possible to complete a divorce entirely through the mail, as long as both parties agree to the terms of the separation. In such a case, both parties could obviously save money by not hiring lawyers. When there is a basic agreement between spouses and few if any complications in the case, many people can dispense with attorneys altogether and utilize the services of an online divorce document preparation service. Or they could share an attorney, although if circumstances change and disagreements were to arise, the attorney may not be able to represent either of them due to the obvious conflicts of interest.
In cases where there are serious disputes over parenting plans or the division of property, help from a lawyer will be much more valuable. If the disagreements end up in court there could be many procedural rules and points of law that the parties might not be aware of, and an unrepresented person facing off in court against their spouse’s professional attorney will be at a real disadvantage. If a party in a complicated divorce has a lot at stake, they have a better reason to hire a lawyer.
Many divorcing couples will fight over property division and the parenting plan for dependent children. Often, the couple will have relatively few assets and will not want to spend a lot on attorneys. If there are no children involved, each individual can determine what they are willing to give up with relatively little risk. If an attorney is hired at some point in the process, the more points both spouses can agree on, the more money they are likely to save. If there are children involved however, the parties should be aware that once a parenting and custody plan is finalized by the court, it can be very difficult to change. If either spouse has misgivings about a proposed custody arrangement, it would probably be worth the money to at least have a qualified attorney look at the case on a consultation basis. While divorce is often an unpleasant process, having a local lawyer with whom you are comfortable can make it a lot easier to get through.