Do You Need an Attorney?
These days many individuals going through a divorce handle the matter without the assistance of a divorce attorney. They feel that it is better to try and settle the matter without spending large sums of money on legal representation.
In all honesty, simple divorces can easily be handled by the parties. There is enough assistance through the courthouse or the internet to “walk you through” the process. HOWEVER, sometimes people can be as they say “penny-wise and pound foolish”.
In an effort to save money on attorneys’ fees they may wind up giving up too much or perhaps not receiving his/her share. I have often reviewed Marital Settlement Agreements which were entered into without the assistance of counsel. Often these individuals come to see me after the fact to request assistance in attempting to “get them out” of the Agreement. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to undo what has already been done.
A Marital Settlement Agreement or a Mediation Agreement has the same legal effect as any binding contract. In addition, individuals are expected to know the law and it is not an excuse to later say “I wasn’t represented by an attorney”.
Many attorneys offer free initial consultations; those that don’t usually charge a nominal fee for their time. If you have any doubts as to the law as it pertains to your situation, it would be in your best interests to consult with an attorney. However, an attorney cannot ethically represent both parties in a divorce and therefore can only advise one of the parties. Therefore initial consultations should take place without your spouse.
Lastly, if you have considerable assets, real estate or a business, or you anticipate a custody issue, you should definitely consult with an attorney to discuss these issues. A little bit of experience can go a long way.