If you are seeking a divorce, it may be tempting to DIY the process to save time and money, but going that route may create more stress and cost more in the long run. When you consider all the factors like child custody, spousal support, and distributing car payments and retirement accounts, a kit or online program seems too simple for the job. This is especially true if you have a sizable or complicated estate to divide. Thinking through these questions can help you decide if you should hire a divorce attorney.
Do you know all your options?
If you represent yourself, you must draft and present a proper settlement proposal. Even if you get so far as to confidently present a proposal under your own guidance, the judge may not accept the terms you’ve laid out. This very possible outcome will frustrate your judge and delay your case, costing you time and money.
A divorce lawyer, however, will be able to look at your case and tell you the most likely outcomes and whether or not you need to take your fight to court. An attorney will be able to work alongside you to draft a settlement that will be most agreeable to all parties. The attorney will also advise you on how to handle your spouse’s settlement requests. Finally, an attorney will know to include topics in a settlement that you may not have considered, like permission to reclaim your maiden name or plans to pay for your kids’ college tuition and living expenses once they’re too old to require child support.
Can you remain objective?
Handling a divorce is a very personal, highly emotional matter. Your house, your money, your children and your retirement will all be discussed at length while you work toward agreement. The workload alone (not to mention the paperwork!) can induce high amounts of stress. It is a rare person who is able to manage their daily responsibilities, their emotional and mental health, and their job, AND successfully represent himself or herself in court.
Your emotions will, no doubt, impair your ability to objectively consider all the options that can give you the best results for your case. A divorce attorney can be the objective third party that keeps the emotion out of the settlement and helps you and your spouse reach agreement.
Your lawyer will be able to help you know when to keep your feelings in check and to distinguish which battles are worth fighting.
Can you put in the work?
In court, you are held to the same standard as all other lawyers, even if you represent yourself. If you go it alone, you’ll have to research all your documents and records thoroughly to build a strong case and while maintaining your regular daily life at home and work. Are you prepared to keep up with and properly fill out all the forms required to keep your case active? Your words and phrasing in the contracts must be precise and airtight. Any mistake or overlooked detail can create consequences that last a lifetime. A lawyer that concentrates specifically on family law will have spent the time and energy dedicated to understanding the ins and outs of the court system. Getting access to their expertise may well make it worthwhile for you to hire a divorce attorney.
Just hearing the phrase “hiring a lawyer” can cause many to see dollar signs flash before their eyes. However, the time, energy, and resources needed to create a strong and tight case are just as costly. If you choose to represent yourself, you are taking on a full-time commitment.
A lawyer would need to frequently gather information from you, but, after that, he or she will continue to work and research behind the scenes. You can then place your focus and energy on taking care of yourself and your family during this difficult time.
The job of your divorce lawyer is to stay on top of all requirements and provide objective counsel to help you achieve your goals for life after divorce. A divorce attorney knows how to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible so you can get back to your life. At Speek, Webb, Turner & Newkirk, we work hard to relieve pressure and give you the most favorable results.
Contact a Chattanooga Divorce Attorney
Contact us if you’re ready to decide whether you should hire a divorce attorney. We’ve helped thousands of couples, and we can help your family, too.