There are many options to help spouses and registered domestic partners represent themselves in a divorce or legal separation so why would you need to seek out the assistance of an experienced family law attorney? Efficiency, getting it done right, superior results, and avoiding harmful pitfalls.
While you will most likely have to pay to enjoy the services of an experienced family law attorney; the fees you pay the attorney may pale in comparison to the amount of time you will dedicate to research, drafting documents, paying for online resources, taking time off work to handle court matters, filing documents, and fixing the numerous mistakes that are inevitable to laymen.
The procedural requirements to process a divorce or legal separation in our courts are vast and unforgiving. One mistake and you’re back to the drawing board. Attend a hearing without having first filed the necessary forms and documents, you’ll either lose the hearing outright, or be told you made a mistake and be forced to return another day, weeks or months later.
An experienced family law attorney can eliminate or at least cut down on mistakes, will be knowledgeable about how to quickly fix deficiencies, can file documents through the use of low cost services, and in many cases can attend court hearings for you without you having to miss work or find child care.
Getting it Done Right
As discussed above our courts’ procedural requirements to process a divorce or legal separation are vast and unforgiving. However, even if you eventually get the procedural requirements sorted out our judges do not review divorce settlement agreements for terms that lack specificity or that contain common pitfalls. They only review them to ensure procedural requirements are met.
A poorly drafted settlement agreement can leave you with major problems down the road, most notably in the areas of taxes, equalization payments from one spouse to the other, disposition of real property (the family home), and child custody and child support issues. Experienced family law attorneys see clients every day that come to them with poorly drafted judgments asking for help fixing the problem, which often can cost substantially more than if it had been handled correctly at the outset.
An experienced family law attorney knows the ins and outs of issues that face divorcing couples. This experience is invaluable in the negotiation process to ensure a fair outcome for you and to ensure you are not agreeing to anything that could haunt you in the future.
If your family law case is a contested one that requires litigation in front of a judge an experienced family law attorney’s knowledge of the law and trial skills can make a substantial and often life changing difference in your case. An experienced family law attorney will have intimate knowledge of your judge and court staff as well as the court procedures specific to your court house.
Don’t lose out on quality time with your children or forfeit a major asset because you think “I’m smart, I know how to talk to people, I’m sure I can convince the judge I’m right.” An experienced family law attorney can be the difference between weekend visitations or 50/50 with your kids. An experienced family law attorney can be the difference between a support payment you can live with and one that leaves you struggling just to make rent.
Avoiding Harmful Pitfalls
Family law cases are full of emotional issues, hurt feelings, and often guilt. Without the assistance of an experienced family lawyer you may make deals and agree to settlement terms that are emotionally based or on their surface seem reasonable. However, many pitfalls plague former spouses who make these types of agreements. Many pitfalls revolve around child custody and visitation issues, such as schedules that lack specificity or that leave out certain holidays or vacation time. Even more pitfalls lie in property agreements especially when related to a house or vehicles. Many times a spouse will agree to terms that leave them liable to a mortgage for a home they no longer own, tying up their credit for years or decades with no recourse.
An experienced attorney can assist in avoiding these pitfalls which in the long run will likely save you more than the fees you pay initially.
Hiring an experienced family law attorney has many obvious benefits and hopefully this article helps you understand some of the less obvious ones. Many experienced family law attorneys can provide low cost assistance in processing your divorce or legal separation by preparing all the paperwork for your uncontested divorce and can bring all the benefits discussed above. Spend some time finding an attorney that meets your needs both financially and competency. With the proliferation of review websites such as Yelp.com, Google.com, and Avvo.com anyone can easily distinguish the good attorneys from the bad.