Most couples do not decide to get married on a whim. This is a decision that is given consideration and time before being acted on by both parties. Unfortunately, despite their best intentions, figures show that approximately 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
If you and your spouse have decided to part ways you may be wondering whether it is necessary to hire a divorce lawyer. By consulting a family attorney, experienced in the area of divorce law you can determine whether your situation requires legal assistance or not. In addition, the following factors may influence your decision to hire the services of a divorce lawyer.
Sharing Marital Property
The division of marital property can be a straightforward or highly complex affair depending on the nature of the divorce and the legal and financial arrangements that apply. Assets such as joint bank accounts, real estate, investments and debts will need to be reviewed and divided between both parties. This is commonly based on an equitable division rule where a couple’s marital assets and debt are distributed in a way that is fair or equitable under the circumstances, and not necessarily split equally between them.
Typically, the more shared property you both have accumulated throughout the marriage the greater the complexity regarding its division. It is advisable to hire a divorce lawyer in such circumstances as they can advise you of your best interests in the long term ensuring you receive what you are entitled to as well as representing you through any challenges or disputes regarding the division of property.
While some parents can agree to an amicable solution regarding custody arrangements, others can end up battling it out in a courtroom. This area has the potential to become contentious and enlisting the help of a professional can be advantageous where an agreement has not been reached on parenting matters.
A divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights as a parent and any child support you or your spouse will need to pay. They can also assist you in creating a visitation schedule and parenting plan which sets out how each parent will share responsibility for raising their children. This may include matters such as the health, education, and religion of their children as well as decision-making authority.
No matter how well you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on such matters, it is still advisable to have the terms of your parenting plan reviewed by an experienced divorce attorney to ensure your and your children’s best interests are being served and any potential issues have been identified and resolved.
This is one of the most important factors that signal the need to hire a divorce lawyer. If your spouse is legally represented and you are not they will have an unfair advantage and are more likely to receive more favorable terms under your divorce settlement.
The legalities surrounding divorce law can be complicated and will vary depending on your state. Having a legal expert by your side will ensure you also receive the best outcome from the divorce. Without such representation, you risk agreeing to terms that you may not fully comprehend or that may result in unintended consequences in the future. It is also important to note that it is usually difficult to change the terms of a divorce settlement once it has been finalized as the terms will be binding. You must ensure you are not signing an agreement that leaves you at a disadvantage compared to your spouse.
Legal representation on both sides will help to level the playing field and at a minimum, a divorce lawyer should be hired to review the terms proposed by your spouse and their attorney before signing.
A divorce lawyer does not need to be on hand throughout your entire divorce proceedings and instead can be hired for certain legal services only. Some of these areas include the following:
- Filing divorce papers
- Explaining property division
- Assisting with custody arrangements
- Attending court hearings or mediation
No matter how amicable your divorce is, it is advisable to have a divorce lawyer review your settlement agreement to ensure your rights are protected and to safeguard you against any potential problems in the future.
Keep these factors in mind when deciding when to hire a divorce lawyer.
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