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Top Five Reasons to Retain a Good Attorney

Divorce, lawyers, legal fees—they go together, right?  In the age of the Internet, state-specific legal information is available and courts often make online forms available for those who choose to self-represent.  But is it a good idea?

In over 20 years of practice, I can say the quick answer is almost certainly not.  Even couples who work through divorce issues amicably need an attorney to prepare or at least review their agreements for appropriate form, legality, and advisability.  While divorce seems straightforward, crucial decisions impact your life far into the future.

The top five reasons you need a good attorney during divorce include:

  1. The time to display your knowledge of the law is not your own divorce.  In the end, you will almost certainly feel the impact of ill-advised financial, custodial, tax, or other decisions due to lack of knowledge—despite your best efforts.  The courts are required to hold self represented persons to the same standards as attorneys.
  2. Just because you represent yourself does not mean your spouse will.
  3. Lack of knowledge of courtroom procedure or understanding of needed forms or process will delay your divorce.
  4. In a contested divorce, a lay person will have difficulty with motion practice and discovery requests requiring precise interpretation and production of documents.
  5. Divorce is about dissolution of your relationship, household, parenting, and finances.  Do not go it alone.

An old adage advises a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. If getting divorced, get good legal advice.

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