It is somewhat surprising how many married couples decide to initially forego the benefit of the advice and counsel of a family law attorney when faced with a divorce. It is not surprising, however, how many couples, after that initial determination, ultimately end up hiring an attorney. Reasons for electing not to hire a divorce lawyer are many, but typically include fear of high legal fees and/or trying to avoid an unpleasant divorce process.
While couples facing divorce are not required to hire a divorce lawyer, the consequences of attempting a "do it yourself" action could be severe. When approached with these concerns from prospective clients, I explain the benefits of a divorce attorney using a simple analogy: If an individual were to accidentally cut themselves, they could very likely stich their own wound. However, a medical facility and attending professionals would most likely provide superior treatment, and in the process, possibly help avoid the risk of infection or subsequent medical problems.
Same goes for divorce. While, theoretically, nothing precludes you from filing your own divorce action, the benefits of retaining a seasoned and skilled divorce attorney are numerous. A divorce attorney will be able to accurately determine what property, as well as debt, is marital. Additionally, should you and your spouse have children, an attorney will be able to inform you of rights with regard to your children that you may not have known you had. Numerous visitation and custody arrangements can be proposed and ultimately ordered or agreed to. A good divorce lawyer will listen to your unique circumstances: what kind of job you work, how often you travel, what your hours are, for example, and create an arrangement best suited to your unique situation. Furthermore, a divorce attorney will be able to ensure that any child support ordered or agreed to is calculated in a fair and reasonable manner. Tens of thousands of dollars could potentially be paid out in child support during your child's life. Comparatively speaking, attorney's fees incurred to ensure that a child support calculation is done reasonably and accurately may be more worthwhile than they are initially perceived to be.
Even for college educated career professionals, evaluating the complexities of family case law, statutory law, and the manner in which a judge is likely to interpret that law, is nearly impossible without the education and years of training that family lawyers receive. There is no substitute for this knowledge and experience, and it may be this knowledge and experience that encourages you to pursue options and avenues in your divorce action that you would not have otherwise. This, ultimately, could be what makes the assistance of a family law attorney invaluable to your case.
Most good family lawyers offer initial complimentary consultations. If you are faced with a possible divorce action, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of one, and go over the many ways in which a divorce lawyer's experience and advice can benefit you.