Sometimes you feel like grabbing the bull by the horn and steer your way to a quick, easy victory, or in this case, a divorce. It is tempting to confront your own legal problems by following a few tutorials on the internet and reading a few books on the law.
This could work in relatively minor cases such as a speeding ticket or even a misdemeanor charge, but divorce proceedings are an entirely different ballgame – one that requires expertise from an experienced family law lawyer firmly rooted in divorce cases. Laws fluctuate so rapidly between state to state that even legal experts tend to stay out of the loop sometimes. What then of a novice without any qualifications at all in the legal arena.
We understand that stress levels tend to be at an all time high, and most people just want to seek immediate liberation from their failed marriage and begin a new era in their lives.
The reality however has nothing to do with your emotional state of being, and instead, has a lot to do with issues revolving around money. It all boils down to how your assets and legal responsibilities towards any children are shared between the two spouses. What you thought you’d end up saving would look like chump change compared to what you could end up losing if you continue to treat divorce proceedings as merely an afterthought.
You could still be a DIY lawyer – read on for more info
Some divorce cases can be a breeze, primarily because both the spouses just want to end their relationship on a high note, neither one of them really cares much about each other’s assets and just want to get it over with. When there is mutual agreement between both parties, you can easily nullify the marriage without appointing an attorney. Your only hurdle would be properly filing the necessary legal paperwork to the courts and your little DIY attorney project would end successfully.
If you’re in agreement with your spouse on how family assets and legal responsibilities of child custody are to be shared between the two of you, then that makes for a second reason why you could opt to represent yourself in court.
Life isn’t this simple however. Below are just a few of the reasons why you need to hire a family law lawyer to handle your divorce;
1) You need alimony from your spouse
When one of you sacrifices their professional life and dedicates it to the wellbeing of the household so that the other does not have to compromise on their professional career, things could take a turn for the worse when you two decide to separate. You would be unable to find a job since you were out of the loop for a long time. Your only options would be minimum wage jobs which might not sustain your bills and your family at all. Meanwhile your spouse is raking in the benefits of a successful professional career and not sharing the benefits with you – they could never have made it this far without your support.
You need continued support from your spouse until you either get a new job or a new partner. The quality of the family law lawyer that you hire can be the difference between getting alimony from the courts and having to struggle with paying the bills.
2) You need child custody
If you truly love your child and want to secure their legal custody – complete or partial – it is recommended to get legal help. This is one part of the courts you cannot expect to win out solo; you need proper legal representation, period. Your lawyer will ensure that you’re able to maintain a complete record of each visit, call, email, social media interaction and contact between yourself and the child. The family law lawyer will ensure that your negative emotions don’t hamper your chances of securing your own child’s custody.
Because let’s face it, when you’re trying to win legal custody over your own child, that is when your emotions run most high and they simply cannot be controlled. You will inevitably run into frequent bouts of emotional breakdown and turmoil which could result in your case spiraling out of control. Your crass behavior will be used to the fullest extent by your ex’s attorneys and they might successfully paint you in a negative light in the judge’s eyes. Ask yourself the important question: will you be able to control your anger, frustration and emotions in court? If not, then go for an attorney.
Not to mention the necessity of meeting deadlines for paperwork and follow up activities, which can easily take up time from your professional life. This is definitely something you should let a family court lawyer handle.
3) You simply can’t avoid the legal pitfalls
There are legal terminologies and technicalities that even expert family court lawyers find difficulties with. Your likelihood of making significant mistakes drastically increases because of unfamiliarity with the law. You could write incorrect names of yourself, the spouse and the children. You could add an extra zero to the actual worth of your assets, such as the house or car. You could end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars or even the custody of your children to your ex for making novice errors. Even practicing lawyers fall prey to such mistakes on a frequent basis.
4) You risk overlooking key issues
Lawyers are thoroughly trained in the art of looking at cases from every nook and corner; they’ll take into account your child’s future college fund, tax issues, parenting plan and proper allocation of debts among others. While you’re busy trying to ensure you don’t end up paying too much alimony, lose out on your property and children – you tend to forego other important key issues which when stacked on top of one another can pose a significant risk to your financial wellbeing. For instance there are various post divorce taxes that you might not be aware of, but you can bet that a competent family law lawyer definitely knows about them.
5) You won’t always be on time for your court hearings
You can’t always be expected to be on time for your court’s dates. You have personal and professional obligations to meet which you sometimes cannot skip. Imagine you end up spending a year going back and forth between court dates over your divorce proceedings and have to take a day off from work each time you do. Will this not take a toll on your professional career? After all, your boss can only let you off the hook a few times in a difficult personal situation. When you let this difficulty absorb your work – that is when you’ve truly succumbed to the problem at hand. You could get laid off from work.
6) The invaluable advise from the lawyer
A lawyer is able to understand the legal implications of your case far better than you ever could. They’ll give you a cost benefit analysis of what can happen if you lose the case and what might happen if you compromise on the case, whether it’s a good idea to go through with your demands or whether it’s better to accept your spouse’s terms. Their analysis will take into account your children, businesses, assets and trusts.
The bottom line
The law is not a fixed mathematical formula defined around clear boundaries and rules that you could hope to replicate by watching a YouTube video or reading through legal novels. It’s not one size fits all and tactics that might prove useful for one case may prove to be disastrous to yours. If practicing law was that easy then we would be transferring all our cases to robots powered by artificial intelligence which would follow simple, fixed ground rules and discharge our cases in a fraction of the time. But law is not as simple as that – learn to trust an attorney.