Here are some things to consider:
Even simple divorces are a lot more complex than you think. Even if your divorce is straightforward and you and your spouse have agreed on all major issues, such as property division, parenting time with your children and support, you will benefit greatly from having legal advice during their proceedings. Not only will an experienced attorney provide valuable advice about the legal process and various settlement options, but they will also have the necessary skills and resources to ensure that all aspects of the settlement including parenting arrangements (custody & visitation), maintenance (alimony) payments, property division, etc., are handled efficiently and correctly. This could save you a lot of time in the long run, as well as prevent any costly mistakes or omissions.
Emotional support: Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. An attorney can provide guidance and support, as well as help you navigate the legal process. This can be especially important if you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what steps to take.
Legal knowledge: Attorneys are well-educated about the law and have a deep understanding of the divorce process - especially in the courthouses where they routinely practice. They can help you understand your obligations under the law and ensure that you are taking all necessary steps to protect your interests.
Representation in court: If your divorce goes to court, having an attorney to represent you can be invaluable. Attorneys are experienced in court procedures and can help you present your case effectively. More importantly, when it comes to an uncontested divorce, a lawyer often appears in court for you instead of with you. This alone is a major savings - you do not have to take off from work and stress about appearing alone.
Encouragement to settle disputes: If you and your spouse are having trouble resolving disputes, an attorney can help you negotiate or negotiate on your behalf. This alone saves considerable time, energy and money.
Cost: Hiring an attorney can be expensive, and the cost will depend on the complexity of your case and the attorney's hourly rate. However, in some cases, the cost of hiring an attorney can be really expensive, especially if your case involves significant assets or is highly contested. Very few family law attorneys offer a flat-fee structure and even fewer take payments on the retainer.
Tying up the loose ends: Lawyers have the tools to make sure that all the loose ends are tied up. This includes setting up automatic child support payments, getting you the right copies for a name change and making sure your pension is divided correctly. Without a lawyer beside you, you would have to figure out how to get your child support or what paperwork you would need to send to divide a pension. In that way, lawyers act like an insurance to ensure it is all correct.
In conclusion, even if your divorce is straightforward, you should hire a lawyer to make sure everything is filed correctly and complies with the laws. An attorney can provide legal knowledge, emotional support, representation in court, and facilitate settlement. In addition, a lawyer will make sure the paperwork is correct.
If you and your spouse are going through an uncontested, simple or agreed divorce, I am here to help you navigate the system. Reach out to my office or call me. The fees I charge are fair and represent the hours you will save figuring it out for yourself. And yes, I allow clients to make payments on their cases.