Do I Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney?

When the decision to divorce has been made between you and your spouse, you may start wondering if it’s time to hire an attorney.

Divorce attorneys are lawyers who specialize in family law and help you to navigate the divorce proceedings in court if you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms of the separation.

Is hiring a divorce attorney necessary? You may think you won’t need one if you and your spouse can agree on most things. Here’s when a divorce attorney is a helpful advantage to when you absolutely need one.

When a Divorce Attorney Is Helpful

If you and your spouse have made the decision to split amicably and are still on decent terms, you may be able to make negotiations and agree on property division without a divorce attorney, although you’ll still need an attorney to draft the agreement and ensure nothing’s been overlooked.

It’s best if you can work out matters such as how custody will be handled as well as how property will be divided on your own. Even if you need to consult a mediator, cooperation can help accelerate legal proceedings and may help limit the involvement of your divorce attorney.

You’ll still need an attorney to help you through the proceedings and a judge to approve the divorce, but you can save time, money, and stress through agreeing on major issues, therefore helping your family deal with the divorce as easily as possible.

When You Absolutely Need a Lawyer

You will need a lawyer if there’s any type of abuse in the relationship—this ranges from child abuse to substance abuse to spousal abuse. If your spouse is violent towards you or your children, it’s safe to say you should not try to negotiate with this person and seek legal help.

A divorce attorney can put the appropriate steps in place to help protect you and your children in this situation. When else do you absolutely need a divorce attorney?

If your spouse has hired a divorce attorney, you’re going to need one. It’s not a good idea to navigate the divorce settlement on your own. A professional by your side can help. If your spouse is dishonest or wants revenge, you may need to get a lawyer to help you settle the divorce amicably.

When to Consult a Mediator

A mediator is a neutral third-party professional who works with both you and your former spouse to come to an agreement.

Unless you and your ex are clear on everything and can divide assets peacefully, a mediator may be necessary. A divorce attorney may be able to put you in touch with a divorce mediator or recommend one.

Through professional mediation, you and your former spouse can come to a peaceful agreement about the terms of your separation. A mediator differs from an attorney in the respect that they work with both you and your spouse, not just represent the interests of one or the other.

Hiring the Right Lawyer

When you decide to hire a divorce attorney, hiring the right lawyer is important. The best lawyers have their clients’ interest at heart and should support your wants and needs in the divorce. They should aim to negotiate with your spouse as much as is reasonable rather than turning the outcome over to the court.

The right lawyer will advocate for you, so be clear about what you want and what you’d ideally expect from the divorce settlement. A good divorce attorney will be kind and compassionate while fighting for your rights, not verbally abusive towards your ex or vindictive for what he or she believes you should get out of the arrangement.

When deciding whether or not to hire a divorce attorney, first consider your relationship with your soon-to-be former spouse. If the relationship ended amicably, you may be able to agree on custody arrangements and division of assets. If your ex is unstable or wants revenge, you should find a good attorney who can help you with the legal proceedings. A mediator may be able to handle everything in between, but never underestimate the power of a good attorney to handle your divorce. 

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