5 Reasons You Should Retain an Attorney for Your Divorce
by Caitlin Holland, Esq.
1. You are not familiar with the divorce process/ you do not know where to start.
Divorce can be a complicated and fairly emotional process. That is especially true since processes and procedures have changed so significantly after COVID, including electronic filings and virtually hearings. Retaining an attorney that aligns with you, your finances, and your expectations can be a great asset to you in your divorce process. Family Law Attorneys are familiar with the rules of Court, procedure, proper documentation necessary in the divorce process and technology necessary for virtual appearances. Their expertise will give you peace of mind by helping you avoid the anxiety of having to represent yourself properly. An attorney can also help you manage your expectations in a divorce which can help you settle your divorce more quickly and avoid future conflict. Even if the divorce is not contentious, you can avoid future conflict or work if you hire an attorney to ensure that the proper procedures have been followed.
2. Your relationship with your spouse is becoming contentious.
When a marriage starts to break down, there is often conflict. While some parties can successfully navigate the conflict and proceed with an amicable divorce, it is not always the case. Often when there are hurt feelings, an adversarial spouse will hurl idle threats at the other spouse (“You’ll never see your child again if you divorce me”) that can fuel a contentious divorce. When that happens it becomes hard to maintain perspective and the process can become more about defending yourself than working toward your future after divorce. By retaining a Family Law Attorney, you can avoid some conflict and bullying, and have someone in your corner guiding you through the chaos. When one or both parties retain attorneys, the parties may even be able to avoid contact with the other by only communicating about the divorce through their attorneys.
3. You and your spouse have complicated finances that will require a lot of documentation.
If the parties have particularly complicated finances, it is prudent to retain an attorney. For example, if the parties own their own business(es), there are numerous assets or debts, a party is requesting alimony or a party is requesting child support, there will likely be disclosures and documents that you would like to review before you agree to any terms of divorce. Navigating discovery can be daunting and confusing when a party is left to make those requests on their own. It is best practice to retain an attorney in order to ensure that you receive all necessary financials and are making the best deal possible and/or advocating for an equitable settlement.
4. You have children.
Having children presents a number of complications in the divorce process. Issues arise like child custody, child support, parenting time, school, health expenses, etc. Often, parties have an idea of the custody and parenting time aspects of the divorce based on the status quo of the marriage. However, there are certain statutory requirements to things like child support that an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate, including ensuring proper income and expenses are included in the Child Support Guidelines. This also tends to be a very emotional portion of the divorce process, an attorney will be able to help you manage your expectations and advocate for you and your child(ren)’s best interests.
5. There are one or more prior orders or agreements between the parties.
Whether the parties negotiated a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or there is a restraining order with temporary terms, it can be prudent to engage an attorney to help you navigate your divorce under the terms of the prior agreements and/or make petitions to the court to contest or modify terms of those prior agreements, if necessary.
If you are interested in speaking to an attorney about a divorce, go to wwwHunnelLaw.com/contact to schedule an appointment.
Stephanie Hunnell, Esq. , Ryan Westerman, Esq. and Caitlin Holland, Esq.