Whether you have just filed for divorce or your spouse has submitted a divorce petition with your local family court, once the impending divorce becomes a clear reality, it is easy to feel lost and uncertain about how to approach this difficult situation. An experienced attorney is one of the best assets you can have on your side during this kind of situation. The right attorney can review your situation and let you know what to expect from the divorce proceedings you face and what you can expect as the process unfolds.
Why Should I Hire a Divorce Attorney?
It is technically possible to complete your divorce without legal counsel, but you are more likely to end up with a divorce order that does not truly serve your interests. You may also encounter problems with your divorce proceedings that you are unsure how to address. Hiring a divorce attorney can eliminate much of the stress of the divorce process. Your attorney can handle your case’s procedural requirements, guide you through the financial disclosure process, and help you gather any evidence and documentation you will require to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome to your divorce case.
While it’s true that you will need to pay attorneys’ fees by hiring legal counsel, you stand to lose much more if you attempt to handle your divorce on your own. A good attorney can potentially secure a better result from your divorce proceedings than you initially expected. They can also provide services you could not manage on your own, such as coordinating expert witness testimony to support your side of the divorce case.
What to Expect from an Attorney in the Early Stages of Divorce
Once you have filed for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, time becomes a critical factor. You need to act quickly when it comes to gathering necessary documentation and navigating the early stages of your case. A good divorce attorney will review your situation and assess your goals to help you determine the best approach to your divorce case. Depending on the complexity of your divorce and you and your spouse’s willingness to cooperate with one another, your attorney can also help you take advantage of alternative dispute resolution like mediation to streamline your divorce significantly.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?
Many divorcing couples throughout the US choose divorce mediation in lieu of traditional divorce litigation because of the many benefits this form of alternative dispute resolution can provide. First and foremost, divorce mediation saves time and money. Both spouses can obtain their divorce order in a much shorter timeframe than divorce litigation typically allows. Divorce mediation is also entirely private. When you litigate divorce, everything said in your court proceedings becomes public record, but divorce mediation sessions are confidential. Once you complete mediation, the record of your divorce becomes public record, but everything said during mediation sessions remains private. Divorce often entails discussion of deeply personal issues, so many couples opt for mediation simply due to the privacy it affords.
While you do not technically need a lawyer for divorce mediation, it is advisable to have legal counsel during this process. This is especially true if your spouse has hired their own attorney. If your spouse has legal counsel but you do not, this puts you at an extreme disadvantage in mediation negotiations. You cannot rely on the mediator to offer you any legal advice; they are legally prohibited from doing so. A mediator cannot hold any conflicts of interest favoring either spouse in a divorce case. They simply guide negotiations and help the divorcing couple draft their divorce agreement. Ultimately, no matter how you decide to handle your divorce, it is always best to hire an attorney to represent you.
How Can an Attorney Help?
Divorce is a multifaceted issue, and you can rely on your attorney to support you with:
- Property division. Your attorney can help you complete your financial disclosure and ensure your property division result not only aligns with state law but also serves your personal interests as much as possible.
- Child custody. Determining child custody is often the most contentious issue in any divorce when the divorcing spouses have children. A good attorney can help you make the strongest possible case for custody and ensure your custody agreement aligns with your child’s best interests.
- Child support. Whether you expect to pay child support to your ex or receive child support payments from them, your attorney will help you ensure your child support agreement is fair, reasonable, and suits your child’s needs.
- Protective orders. In the event you or your children have suffered domestic violence from your spouse, your attorney can help you secure orders of protection that will prevent future harm from your spouse. They will also ensure that your spouse’s behavior is appropriately reflected in your divorce order.
These are just some of the issues that divorcing individuals must confront during divorce proceedings. It is much easier to handle these issues with peace of mind when you have a reliable attorney on your side.
Help from Attorneys Post-Divorce
When you hire an experienced and reliable attorney to represent you in your divorce, you can typically expect ongoing support once you have completed the divorce process and have your divorce decree in hand. You may need to revisit your divorce order through the modification process if recent life events have influenced your ability to abide by the terms of your divorce order. Your attorney can also connect you with helpful resources such as support groups, counseling, budget guidance, and financial assistance to adjust to your post-divorce life more easily.
Divorce may be one of the most challenging experiences of your life, and you can approach this difficult situation with greater confidence when you have a reliable attorney on your side. Research local divorce attorneys and consider asking friends and family for their recommendations if they have recently gone through divorce to find the attorney that’s right for you. Reach out to an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible once you have decided to end your marriage or learn that your spouse has filed for divorce.