In Florida, you are not required to have an attorney to get a divorce. Although this may seem like a money-saving option, read on to find out why it may cost you more, not less, to divorce without hiring a divorce attorney.
When it comes to divorce and finances, hiring an attorney can seem like a heavy financial burden to take on. However, the reality is, paying for a divorce lawyer can help you save money tremendously in the long term.
Think about hiring a divorce attorney as you would think of hiring an accountant. Although they may cost money, their experience and expertise ultimately end up saving you money in ways you may have not considered. Thus, it becomes a win-win for everyone.
Your divorce case can be very similar to that. Below are some factors to consider when deciding whether you should forgo an attorney and represent yourself pro se, or if you should hire a divorce attorney to handle your case.
Ask: “What’s at Stake?”
The first thing you should consider is what is at stake in your divorce. Divorces typically involve all your hard work’s earnings—retirement accounts, savings accounts, property, real estate, etc. These are assets that you worked your whole life for, and you owe it to yourself to protect those assets. Assets that were acquired during your marriage, or appreciation of premarital assets, become marital property. This means that your spouse is going to be entitled to at least part of these assets in your divorce. Consider what you are willing to give up. Often, it is more than worth it to spend money on an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney to protect your assets.
Attorneys Keep You on Track
In a divorce, there are a lot of emotional components. Staying on track and focusing can be difficult when you are attempting to handle your own case. Getting caught up on the emotional aspects of your case can often lead to frivolous litigation. Emotions can cause spouses to focus more on proving who is right or wrong on non-legal issues. Often the issues spouses fight over do not impact the court’s decision. All the finger-pointing and blame-shifting does is add more stress, and ultimately can cause the case to be drawn out. An attorney can save you money by preventing you from going down any of these ‘rabbit-holes’ and keep you on track.
An attorney helps keep your case on track procedurally also. Attorneys are able to walk you through your case and explain different components of your case. They are able to explain how each decision you make can affect you in the long-term. They know the ins and outs of the court system. Additionally, divorce attorneys can save you time and money by meeting filing deadlines, drafting documents properly, and mediating issues efficiently.
Attorneys Give You Options
As family law attorneys, this is what we do. We have extensive experience in handling divorce cases as well as child custody disputes. We know the ins and out of the court system, as well as the rules. There is rarely an issue we have not come across. In addition, the courts are relatively lenient on how couples handle their cases. There are few areas of the law that operate as family law does. Therefore, we have come up with strategies for handling specific issues that arise in family law. We are able to provide clients with tailored options to fit their specific situations.
They Ensure Fairness
You don’t want to show up to a fight unprepared. You never know if the other side met with counsel. Therefore, it is important for you to know what you are getting into. For the most part, attorney’s fees are paid out of marital assets. An award of one attorney’s fee is paid on a “need” and “ability to pay” basis. This ensures that each party is given the opportunity to obtain competent representation. If the other party has counsel, you want to have counsel. The last thing you want is to get the short end of the stick in your divorce case. Hiring an attorney can prevent you from being blindsided by your spouse or feeling backed into a corner.
The Consequences of Not Getting an Attorney Can Cost You
There are many ‘rules’ in family law. You will have friends that will tell you what happened in their case and try to give you advice. However, the laws are constantly evolving, and there are always going to be nuances to rules. You do not want to lose out on the opportunity to protect your assets or to protect your parental rights.
You may think that you can save money for your children by not hiring a divorce attorney. However, this may result in you paying a higher child support amount. Or, it could end up with less timesharing than what you should be allocated. You may be hesitant to invest your savings in hiring a divorce attorney, but in reality, this is the best investment you can make in these circumstances. If you don’t hire legal counsel, you may end up paying a larger portion of your savings to your spouse throughout the divorce process. Additionally, if a couple signs a settlement agreement, there is a higher burden for modification later on. It is important to make sure you do it right the first time.
Considering filing for Divorce?
If you have any questions about collaborative divorce or child custody in the Tampa Bay area, then hire one of the top divorce lawyers. Call us: (813) 907-9807