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Do I really need to retain a lawyer to get divorced?

The divorce process is rarely one that goes smoothly and without issues. While there are some couples willing and able to end their divorce on a good note in which they remain friendly and kind to one another, many of them cannot do the same. Many couples are angry, hurt, they feel betrayed, and they feel intense anger toward their spouse. They work with their emotions rather than a sense of calm maturity, and they want to hurt their spouse as much as possible. It happens all the time, even to people who simply aren’t like that in reality.

Are you one of those people? It doesn’t matter if you are or not. All that matters is you are at a point in your life where your marriage is no longer working for you and you want to end it for good. It’s time to file for divorce, but you might have a few questions regarding what’s best for you and your family. One of the most commonly asked questions is whether an attorney is an absolute necessity in the divorce process.

Do I really need an attorney to get divorced?

No, you don’t need an attorney to get a divorce. There is no law in effect anywhere that stipulates and requires any party retain a divorce attorney to end their marriage. However, it’s recommended for many couples. The ideal situation is an amicable divorce. Both you and your spouse make the decision to end your marriage together. You agree to a custody arrangement if you have kids, and you split your assets and debts in a way that makes you both feel happy.

If you can do that, you don’t need an attorney. You can download the proper forms online, pick them up at your local courthouse, and you can file the paperwork and pay the fee on your own. Very few people have the ability to handle divorce in this manner. Most people want to obtain an attorney so they can fight for what they want, get what they can, and so they’re sure they’re not being taken advantage of by their spouse.

When do I hire an attorney?

If you’re capable of getting a divorce while still maintaining a partnership and teamwork with your soon-to-be ex, you don’t need an attorney. If you cannot get along long enough to agree on anything, you might want to hire an attorney. If you have a lot of money on the line, a business, or even an inheritance you brought into the marriage, an attorney can help you legally protect those items so you’re not as likely to lose them in your divorce.

The purpose of an attorney is not just to file paperwork and talk to you about legalities. Sometimes an attorney acts as a mediator who can get papers signed and situations handled without causing even bigger issues. Attorneys can work together to create a happier divorce without causing bigger arguments and more animosity. Your divorce attorney and your spouse’s attorney aren’t involved in a personal relationship not working out, so chances of every little discussion turning into an argument or fight are slim.

How do I find the right attorney?

Never hire just any attorney when it’s time to get divorced. Speak to several. Ask for recommendations, meet with several attorneys, and get to know them. The attorney you hire should be someone you have a good working relationship with, someone you feel comfortable with, and someone who comes highly recommended by others who’ve gone through this horrible time in their own lives. If you don’t feel comfortable with your own attorney, you might not want to work with that person.

You also want an attorney with experience. You want someone who can get you what you want, who can handle your divorce the way you want it handled, and someone who charges you a fair fee. You’re not required to hire an attorney, but it’s often the most helpful answer.

If your spouse is hiring an attorney or his or her own, you do want to consider hiring one even if it wasn’t your original plan. Two attorneys working together is much more amicable than you working against an attorney who has the advantage of being familiar with the law while you’re not. You don’t have to hire an attorney, but you should consider what it means to you, your financial situation, and the outcome of the end of your marriage.

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