Do I Need An Attorney For My Divorce?
Going through a divorce can be an emotionally-charged and stressful process. It can also be an expensive occurrence, as well. For this reason, many parties try to save on costs by settling issues related to a divorce without the help of an attorney.
The decision whether to hire or not hire an attorney can be a tough one to make, and certain factors should be considered before making that final determination.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS FOR DIVORCE
Many legal resources do exist to help parties prepare the necessary documentation to file for divorce without hiring an attorney. Depending on the parties involved, it is certainly possible for parties to navigate the divorce process pro se or without the help of an attorney.
One issue should be kept in mind, however, and that is the judge will have to treat the parties the same way he or she would treat attorneys before the court. This means that it is expected that pro se parties will have to prepare everything correctly and in proper form for the court. Parties are expected to understand the law while they do all of this.
Many unrepresented parties will say that their divorce is “simple,” but no legal matter is ever 100 percent simple. If the parties have a significant amount of marital property or have children, that simple divorce can suddenly become very complicated.
Unless both parties understand what forms need to be completed and submitted to the court, how to divide property equitably under Colorado law and how to calculate child support, it is possible mistakes could be made.
In addition, many times one party may have a better understanding over the law over the other party, and that unequal edge could result in that party taking advantage of the lack of understanding of the other party. This may result in one side receiving something unfairly or certain decisions being made that the other party does not understand.
It is not up to the court or the court staff to clarify these issues to the less-educated party. They cannot provide legal advice to either party, only an attorney can do this.
Therefore, it can be extremely helpful if an attorney is hired to help work through these issues to ensure that both parties are receiving what is fair and just in the process.
GOING THROUGH ONE ATTORNEY
Another common scenario occurs when parties decide to only hire one attorney to prepare the paperwork. While this can be a cost-saving measure, it often results in the attorney only representing one of the parties, leaving the other one with no assistance in the process.
The attorney cannot provide legal advice regarding whether a certain provision in a divorce agreement is or is not fair. This gives the one spouse who did hire the attorney an unfair advantage.
Many times, the spouse who hires the attorney is the one who has the financial resources in the family This results in that spouse’s rights being protected over the rights of the other spouse who lacks those financial resources.
If one attorney is hired to prepare the paperwork, it can be advisable for the other spouse to at least retain an attorney to review the settlement agreement prepared before signing anything.
LACK OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES
If the reason you are choosing not to hire an attorney is due to lack of financial resources, many times, divorce agreements can be prepared so that the spouse who does have the ability to pay for an attorney can compensate the other spouse for having to hire an attorney.
The fact that the spouse does not have the money to hire an attorney is never a good reason to not protect his or her rights adequately in a divorce. Colorado courts are aware of this problem.
During a consultation with a divorce attorney, discuss what options are available to help pay for your legal fees.
Regardless of whether you determine an attorney is needed for your divorce, it can help to at least meet an attorney for a consultation.
Do this consultation without your spouse so that you can be upfront about questions and concerns you have and so that you are not swayed one way or the other in sharing information that can be important to your case. Many times, having the other spouse present can hinder an open and honest discussion which can then result in that spouse not hiring an attorney for fear of making the divorce contested and upsetting the other party.
A consultation does not mean you are hiring that attorney, but it does help answer questions you may have so that you can be more educated in making the correct decision in the end.
Divorce is complicated and can be a stressful matter for anyone, and I am here to help you through the process. Call the Law Offices of Kelli J Malcolm today for your consultation at 720-261-7287.