If you and your spouse have decided to move forward separately, you may – very understandably – be wondering whether you need to hire an attorney to represent your interests during the divorce process. After all, there is so much information and so many DIY platforms online nowadays that it may be tempting to navigate the divorce process without any legal help.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the divorce process is consequential in a myriad of ways: Legally, financially, mentally, emotionally, socially, and practically. Most of the time, the process of obtaining fair divorce settlement terms is a high-stakes undertaking and shouldn’t be attempted without experienced legal assistance. With that said, there are circumstances under which a DIY approach to divorce may be appropriate.
Is Your Divorce Likely to Be Contentious?
As an experienced family law attorney – including those who practice at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC, – can confirm, most modern divorce processes are resolved amicably but some must still be resolved by a judge. There is no “right or wrong” way to approach the divorce process. What is important is whether the approach that you’re taking is most likely to secure you fair divorce settlement terms.
Meaning, if you need to “fight” to get what you deserve, there’s no shame in that. You’ll just need an attorney’s help, as litigating a divorce on your own is highly inadvisable. The legal system is complex even when straightforward challenges are being scrutinized. If you and your spouse have fundamental differences that you can’t bridge, you’ll want a vigorous advocate looking out for your best interests.
If you and your spouse are likely to be able to resolve your differences amicably, you may still need to hire an attorney to facilitate negotiations, to represent you during mediation, and/or to review and finalize a draft agreement that you and your spouse have co-written. This is the best way to ensure that your rights are fully protected during such a consequential legal process.
Is Your Divorce Likely to Be Complex?
If you and your spouse haven’t been married for long, have acquired minimal property that is legally considered to be jointly-owned, and you don’t have any kids, you may be able to forego legal counsel in favor of a DIY approach. Just make sure that you’re utilizing a reputable platform that takes into account all the nuances of state law. You can also prepare a draft of a DIY approach and hire an attorney for only a few hours to review your proposal and help you finalize it.
However, you’ll need to hire an attorney if your divorce situation is at-all complex. Whether you’re trying to divide the value of complex assets, you need to draw up a manageable parenting plan to govern your co-parenting relationship, etc. working with an attorney will help to ensure that all of your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process and that you get the results you deserve.