Should I hire a divorce lawyer even if my divorce is simple?
There are forms out there, including free forms, that you can use to help you get divorced. However, when you use the paperwork, you will have to figure out how to electronically file them. If they are rejected by the clerk, you will have to figure out how to fix them as the clerks are not allowed to do that. You might have to figure out how to get your soon-to-be-ex served too. Finally, you will have to appear in court to have the judge grant your divorce. Basically, you have to figure out all of the nuances, rules and laws, no different than a divorce lawyer would do.
This means that you will spend hours of time figuring out how to be your own divorce lawyer without the help of someone who went to law school or knows how each of the courts operates. This will require you to take time off work as well.
There are also services out these that promise that your paperwork will get accepted. I have been around long enough to say they will not. There are also people who say they can draft your paperwork and are a lot cheaper than attorneys. That is called the unauthorized practice of law and is a crime. Yeah, really. Why is it a crime? Because the legal profession has rules and laws they have to follow that protect consumers of legal services. Someone who operates outside of these laws and rules cannot be held to task if they lie to you, if they mess up your paperwork and you spend thousands to fix it, and because they are not required to maintain a current knowledge of the law. For example, the law on how to calculate maintenance (alimony) has changed at least 4 times in the last decade and there are a lot of rules of how to reach the right answer.
A good lawyer knows how to get the clerks of each of the counties they practice in to accept the paperwork. They give the judge a series of orders worded the way that the judge wants them to be worded. They know how to take care of the details, like starting child support or how to set up a 401(k) to receive a distribution of retirements. A good attorney knows how to make the process run relatively smoothly to make it a bit less stressful. So, do you need to hire a lawyer? No. Should you? Yes. No different than you hire someone to cut your hair that has learned to do it, or pay to have your car’s oil changed, an attorney is trained to fix your problem.
If you are looking for a divorce lawyer to be your guide through your simple case, reach out to my office. I will make the process less stressful for you. I know how to file your case, will do my best to keep you out of the courtroom and will prevent a lot of the later problems from happening.