The Risks of Going Through Divorce Without Legal Representation
Some couples are fortunate, in that although they have decided their marriage is over, they still consider themselves friends. Then one day while discussing how to handle the finances over a pile of bank and loan statements, one spouse looks at the other and says, “Hey, we don’t need to involve lawyers in this. Let’s just sort it all out ourselves —we’ll save a bundle!”
That moment can cost you everything.
Attorneys protect clients who think they don’t need protection
No matter how amicable your divorce, moving forward without retaining a qualified divorce attorney to look out for your best interests is a serious misstep, particularly for couples in possession of significant wealth. Even if you choose an alternative dispute resolution option like divorce mediation, you will benefit from the advice of a lawyer.
Though your split may start amicably, the likelihood you will agree 100 percent on every decision is, at best, highly doubtful. For example, you may think you will keep your house, since it was your family home before you married. However, your spouse may be equally certain that for contributing so much to redesigning and maintaining that home, he or she should have it. Leave it up to a judge, and you may find your family home being sold against your will, with the proceeds “fairly” divided.
In all likelihood, you don’t know the law the way an attorney does. In New York, for example, there have been many changes to the rights and responsibilities of each spouse, with more expected. Not knowing current law may mean you enter into agreements based on out-of-date or faulty information, which could cost you dearly.
The bottom line is you need an attorney who focuses on divorce and divorce-related issues such as spousal support, child custody and visitation by your side, or you face losing far more than the fees that attorney will charge.