Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Young couple and their lawyers talking about divorce during a meeting in the office.

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, one of the first questions you’ll have is whether you need a divorce lawyer. It’s not a simple question and the answer will depend on your particular situation.

As a general rule, the less that you have to rely on the courts to solve your problems, the more smoothly the divorce will go. But do you need a divorce lawyer? The following information will help you make an informed decision.

You May Not Need a Divorce Lawyer for Everything: Making Decisions on Your Own

If you’re able to work together with your spouse to resolve the legal issues, you may not need a lawyer’s help. These issues include:

  • Child custody of your minor children
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Division of property

Working together with your spouse through the divorce process can have a lot of advantages, including:

  • You’ll have better control over the vital issues that will be raised during your divorce instead of leaving them up to the court.
  • You’ll end up saving quite a bit of time and money by not having to hire a divorce lawyer for all aspects of your divorce.
  • Children going through a divorce often have a smoother transition if their parents can work out the divorce themselves.

If you and your spouse can come to terms regarding the bigger issues in your divorce, you can generally ask the court to grant you a divorce in writing. This is what is typically called an uncontested divorce.

Depending upon the state you live in, you may not even have to appear in court to have your divorce finalized, if you can show that the divorce is uncontested and you have worked everything out. However, many states do require short court hearings when minor children are involved.

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse agree on all the terms of your divorce, you can file for an uncontested divorce without the help of a lawyer. However, it is always advisable to at least have a lawyer look through your agreement in an uncontested divorce to make sure that your rights and interests are protected. A lawyer can also make sure that your agreement is likely to be accepted by the court, and that you are not overlooking any important issues that could arise down the road.

Keep Tensions Low: Divorce Lawyers Can Fan the Flames or Provide a Calm Perspective

Because of their very nature, divorces tend to stoke intense emotions.

If you do decide to hire a divorce lawyer, it’s crucial that you take your time and hire the right one for your situation. Do you need an attorney to fight against your spouse in court, or one that will help you and your spouse work out an agreement together? Every situation demands a different approach.

Be sure to ask any potential attorney many questions during your consultation such as:

  • Would your attorney support a decision to seek settlement outside of court?