Sorry, I can’t tell you for sure which way you should go. You’re ultimately going to have to make the decision on your own. What I can do is give some direction, so that you can make the decision a little easier. To start off, let’s run down through some of the scenarios where you will be pretty much forced to hire a lawyer:
- Your spouse has already hired a lawyer and begun the process.
- Your safety, or the safety of your children is at risk from your spouse.
- Your combined assets are considerable, or there is a family business involved.
The list of reasons to use Lawyers can obviously be much longer, but rather than do that, I wanted to focus on some of the reasons you might want to consider a less adversarial divorce. Again, what I’m talking about here is either an arbitrated divorce, or even a “do-it-yourself” divorce. That’s right, I said “do-it-yourself”. Most states allow an individual to complete the entire divorce process without involving a lawyer.
Now I’ll say right now, this option isn’t for everyone either. You’re going to find this to be a fairly involved process, requiring plenty of your time. You’re going to have to familiarize yourself with a portion of the legal process, and more importantly, you’re going to have to sit down with your spouse and hammer out every detail of your divorce agreement together. If you were at each others’ throats already, you’re probably going to have to make some sort of peace before you can begin this process, and for that simple reason alone, many folks are going to find it easier emotionally to hand the negotiations off to Lawyers. However, if you and your spouse are separating on fairly amicable terms, this option may be the best overall. Remember, even if you use Lawyers, you and your spouse are ultimately the only two people who can agree on the terms of the divorce, so don’t think that retaining a lawyer is going to protect you from making decisions.
But let’s assume that you and your spouse are still able to sit down and have reasonable conversations about the breakup. Let’s also assume that you are both in agreement on many of the large issues associated with the divorce, namely custody and division of the major portions of the property. If this is the case, then you might be a good candidate for doing your own divorce. Even if you’re not, this information should be helpful in getting you to the point where the divorce can be completed with a minimum of stress. So, let’s continue on with this concept, and you’ll get some pointers on how to get yourself prepared to get through the legal part of this process.