For those who have no property or children and have been married less than five years a do-it-yourself divorce kit will probably work well. The process is quite simple with very little opportunity for complications. However, for those couples that own real estate and/or have children there are good reasons to enlist the services of a divorce lawyer. Unless you are involved in the legal field it is unlikely you will have the expertise and knowledge to understand the legal ramifications of your actions.
There are many things a lawyer can do for you that you cannot accomplish unless you are in the legal field or have a great deal of legal expertise. Some of the things that are best left in the hands of divorce lawyers include but are not limited to the following:
- Filing the divorce petition
- Representing you in court
- Negotiating with your spouse's lawyer on your behalf
- Filing the ancillaries
Alimony or spousal support
Child custody and visitation
Distribution of assets
Assignment of debts
Individual obligations upon dissolution of the marriage
Hiring a lawyer is a very expensive venture, but it is one that will help you receive the most fair and equitable divorce settlement. When you attempt to represent yourself there is the risk that you do not know everything to which you might be entitled. Even in cases where couples agree to a 50/50 split there may be reasons why the court may decide to approve a higher percentage to the wife. Some of those reasons might be:
- Her earning capacity compared to the husband
- Additional expenses she may incur because of the divorce (for example, she may need to work extra hours to pay the bills thus incurring additional expenses for child care)
- The wife who has always stayed home to take care of the home and children may need to return to school in order to increase her opportunities for good paying employment. At minimum she will need to seek employment outside of the home.
- If the divorce is the result of a specific action on the part of either party the judge may award a higher settlement to the part that was wronged.
Do not always rely on any agreement you and your spouse may have made. In many cases the couple is in a hurry to get things over and go on with their lives, so many things are done without a great deal of thought. Let the legal system guide you into making the decision that is right for you and your spouse.