It’s not always necessary to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce. In some cases, divorcing spouses are able to amicably work out their differences, complete the required paperwork, and go their separate ways -- all without a lawyer’s help.
But everyone knows that divorce can be a messy and arduous process. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on much of what you want and aren’t fighting with each other, financial and family situations are often complex. A typical divorce involves a good deal of paperwork; lots of negotiation and financial calculations; and, frequently, decisions that will affect the family for years to come.
What a Divorce Lawyer Does
An experienced divorce lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process, protect your interests, and get a fair and efficient result. For example, a qualified lawyer can help you:
- Understand how the divorce process works and give you a reasonable idea of what to expect before, during, and after the proceedings.
- Complete and file complicated paperwork, making sure you don’t miss deadlines, leave out important information, or make other mistakes.
- Evaluate your options for mediation or arbitration. Or, if you go to court, navigate the local court system with an understanding of court rules and even the personalities involved.
- Negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer.
- Find experts such as private investigators, forensic accountants (to help find hidden assets), psychologists, or doctors if you need them to support your case.
- Calculate and negotiate alimony (spousal support) and child support, and argue for your child custody and visitation preferences.
- Determine whether a proposed settlement offer is fair or whether you could do better.
- Understand the tax consequences of your divorce.
- Protect yourself and negotiate effectively if you or your children have suffered abuse in the marriage.
- Stay objective. You won’t get the best results if your judgment is clouded by anger, frustration, or fear. A good lawyer can help you make clear-minded decisions about your case.
Find a Good Divorce Lawyer
Like tax law, bankruptcy law, or criminal law, divorce law is a specialty subject involving complex legal rules. Someone claiming to be a divorce lawyer should be able to point to experience and deep knowledge of divorce law and your local court system.
For an experienced divorce lawyer, many aspects of divorce cases are routine. Chances are good that an experienced lawyer has already seen a situation like yours. The lawyer you choose should be able to advise you on the best way to proceed with your divorce given, among other things, the financial circumstances of your marriage, whether you have children and what their needs are, and how contentious your divorce is likely to be.
If you're going to hire a divorce lawyer, make sure you get a good one. Do your homework and comparison shop before you hire someone to represent you.
For more resources, see How to Find a Divorce Lawyer in San Joaquin County, CA.