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Is a Divorce Attorney Really Necessary?
Money can be tight when a couple decides to divorce. Money, or finances, is one of the top five reasons for a family to split, so it stands to reason that someone might want to reduce costs of this legal process. In addition to the stress of stretching the family income, the cost of a divorce can escalate the money problem. Trying to make ends meet, often a party may ask the question, “Is hiring an attorney really necessary for me?” After all, one party has already hired an attorney to begin the legal proceedings.
The answer in a resounding, “Yes!” Even though a divorce can be obtained in most states by simply filing the necessary paperwork with the county clerk, all of the required documentation may not be assembled properly by someone unfamiliar with the process. There may be missing items or property settlements, a lost signature or an incomplete form. A good attorney will file the complete documentation for the represented client. A person filing independently can inadvertently miss something important.
A thorough and thoughtful attorney will reduce the stress of the proceedings for their client. By gathering and submitting the information, the attorney assumes the responsibility. This allows the client to be free to deal with the family issues that will arise because of the new situation. There will be relocation involved for at least one party, and maybe both if a home must be sold. Children will be confused by the new situation and need the assurance of both parents that things will work out in a good way.
Issues for Negotiation
There are some things a lawyer will address that may not even be considered by a divorcing party. These are a few of the necessary considerations:
- Property settlement
- Child Support
- Child Custody Agreement
- Estate matters
- Debt settlement
- Retirement funds and asset sharing
- Future assets
Even though it may be an uncontested or no-fault filing, there will be issues regarding the property rights, retirement funds, assets, and future assets, like possible inheritance situations. The familial situations like alimony, child support and custodial rights for both parties must be discussed. A point of contention for many couples is the splitting of the debt; which party is responsible for which debt can bring many hurt feelings and hidden anger to the surface. As a neutral party to the negotiations, an attorney can diffuse the discussion if tempers rise and heated words occur.
Each of the above situations will have future repercussions, but the final decree will be binding for each of the parties involved. Once the final documents are signed and agreed upon, this document will affect all involved parties and the children for the rest of their lives and even into death, as in the case of the estate planning.
Hiring your own lawyer will be the most valuable investment you will make for your future. An alert and experienced lawyer can negotiate the best terms of settlement, child custody and visitation rights, assets, and future assets. Don’t attempt to have a legal split without someone knowledgeable representing your best interests.