You want a divorce and are facing the decisions of whether to hire an attorney and if you do hire one, who you choose. You’re tempted to represent yourself because it feels like a great way to save time and money. Try to keep in mind that going through a divorce can be very emotional, and unless you happen to be a divorce attorney, you probably have NO idea how the divorce system works. Attorneys know the law. You don’t. They know how the divorce system works and having an attorney by your side will make navigating the process of divorce a much easier task with better results. If you have children, the decision not to hire an attorney can affect their emotional and financial stability. An objective advisor can represent you and your children’s best interests.
What are the risks of not hiring an attorney?
In the divorce process, it is often what you don’t know that affects you. Alimony, child support, parenting time, decision-making, equitable distribution, taxes, pensions, medical insurance, medical expenses, life insurance, and more—these are all issues that need to be decided in your divorce
Additionally, the court system operates on paperwork. Divorce attorneys know what to write and how to write it in a form that judges will accept. Without an attorney, you run the risks of missing important documents and deadlines. Not to mention, attorneys know your rights and what you’re entitled to.
There to educate, inform, and advocate
If you have children, you need to draft a parenting time schedule; if you make a mistake or miss some important issues, your children may be the ones to suffer.
Maybe you have decided to mediate your divorce. A mediator is a neutral party, there to assist the parties in reaching a conclusion and not to give legal advice. Anyone going into mediation should first consult with an attorney regarding their rights and responsibilities. Meditation should not be thought of as a way to “avoid” hiring an attorney; rather, it is a lower-cost option you and your attorney can use to help you get what you’re entitled to.
What am I hiring an attorney to do? Your attorney will be your advocate and counselor. Even if you and your soon-to-be former spouse think that you have an agreement that fairly divides your assets and debts between the two of you, an attorney can evaluate this agreement and let you know if it truly is fair. Your attorney can draft the agreement and will file any necessary paperwork and motions as part of the process.
Divorce is stressful. Dividing assets, moving, custody—the last thing you need is the added stress of managing the court process yourself. Divorce attorneys are experts and deal with people seeking divorce every day. They know the process inside and out and can provide support through the process.
Divorce can be a long process. Although every case varies, it can be as little as a few months to as long as a few years. An attorney knows you likely want the divorce to be finalized as quickly as possible. They will prepare the documents and file them for you, avoiding unnecessary delays. Because they know the laws, the documents filed by an attorney will be complete and error-free, keeping the process moving as fast as the courts allow. Additionally, attorneys know the laws and can use their professional experience and relationships with local judges, other divorce attorneys, and court personnel to give you a better idea of how your case will proceed through the courts.
Emotions are high during a divorce and may cloud your decision-making. A divorce attorney is a neutral party, not swayed by emotion, that can guide you in your decision-making. Custody can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. An attorney can help you navigate this process and ensure your rights are protected. They can help you decide what’s in the best interest of your child and prepare your case if an agreement cannot be made.
Still have questions?
If you’ve read this and you’re still asking yourself, “do I need a divorce attorney?” the answer is likely yes. With so much at stake, an attorney will be able to provide you with legal guidance and answers to your important questions. Gjesdahl Law offers a team of dedicated and experienced family law attorneys, paralegals, and office staff here to help you navigate divorce in Fargo, ND, and Moorhead, MN. We’re dedicated to providing our clients with expert legal advice, clear communication, and a seamless transition into new family dynamics. Schedule a consultation with our attorneys today.