Divorce is one of the most common reasons for people to wind up in family court. Given that it is such a common procedure, states have processes in place that allow people in unhappy marriages to file for divorce on their own behalf.
Pro se divorce filings are common, but they are also often plagued with problems. While filing a divorce on your own may seem cheaper, it might actually cost you more in the long run. There are several good reasons why people hire professionals to help them during a divorce.
Emotions get the best of almost everyone during divorce
Even if you want an amicable divorce and you agree that your marriage isn’t salvageable, anger, grief and resentment can all influence how you behave around your spouse and in court.
Lashing out at your ex by saying something cruel in front of a judge could hurt your legal case. Trying to use the courts to punish your ex is a strategy that might backfire by wasting your time and money hoping to secure terms that simply aren’t possible.
When you work with a lawyer, they will give you advice about what is likely in your situation. They can also be a calm and rational advocate for your rights in court.
Just because you don’t hire a lawyer doesn’t mean your ex won’t
If you tell your spouse that you intend to file for divorce but you will not hire a lawyer, they may nod and seem to agree with you, only to show up at court with a powerhouse divorce attorney and steamroll you.
Unless you have some kind of binding contractual agreements that precludes the use of attorneys or allows for a quick uncontested divorce, like an ironclad prenuptial agreement, you have no way of knowing if or when your spouse might bring their own lawyer into the situation.
Mistakes you make now could haunt you for years to come
If you have children, you may have to continue seeing your ex for years. Setting illegal or illogical terms in an initial custody agreement could mean years of conflict and appeals or modification attempts. Even if you don’t have kids, failing to set appropriate terms for support and property division might delay, complicate or otherwise negatively impact your divorce proceedings.
Having a lawyer in your corner means that you have someone there to help you handle divorce stress and advise you. It means you don’t have to handle everything on your own or try to stay calm all the time in a situation that makes you highly emotional. Good representation often pays for itself by helping you secure an optimal outcome to the divorce and avoid mistakes that can cause years of expensive litigation.