If divorce were easy, it wouldn't be the basis of so many movie and TV drama plots (or the butt of so many sitcom jokes). The reality is, if you were sure your divorce were going to be settled quickly and amicably, you probably wouldn't be reading this. If there's anything about your divorce that has you worried, you should certainly always hire an attorney. If you're still on the fence, you should know there are some situations in which hiring an attorney is imperative.
Your Spouse Hires an Attorney
If your spouse hires an attorney, you need one. Emotions will be running high for both of you, but your spouse will have the advantage of a less charged opinion from a coolheaded third party. Additionally, you can't do enough online research to make up for the formal education and years of experience your spouse's attorney will have. No matter how smart you are, we've been in these situations so many times, we simply have a handle on some of the things you won't find on the internet (like the proclivities of certain judges, for example).
Domestic Violence Is Involved
If you've been the victim of domestic violence or your children have, a lawyer is a must. The victim is more likely to cow-tow to the abuser for fear of repercussions. A lawyer won't just make certain you aren't bullied through the divorce, they'll be able to advise you on necessary protections and even point you toward counseling and other resources to help you through the process.
You and Your Spouse Disagree
This may seem obvious, but if you're divorce is contested (you can't agree on every point), you probably need a divorce lawyer. A neutral third party, like a mediator, may be able to help you reach an accord. An attorney can be hired solely to help you through the mediation by reviewing the agreements before you sign them. If you didn’t hire an attorney and mediation doesn't work, you'll want to get an attorney involved at that point because like it or not, a legal battle may be inevitable.
You Need Help Collecting Evidence
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means you don't have to prove anything to file for a divorce so long as you both agree it's irreconcilable. Most divorces are based upon the marriage being irretrievably broken and if one spouse claims it is, that is a sufficient basis. But if you don't agree or if there are other factors involved (like you believe your estranged spouse has some kind of addiction problem or other habits that could affect their ability to take custody of the children), it's helpful to have an attorney. They'll know the fastest and easiest ways to collect evidence and may even be able to leverage their resources to get evidence it would be difficult for you to get on your own.
There's a Legal Standard to Meet
Each state has different laws in place outlining the legal standards for various terms of the divorce. They may have standards regarding how property is divided, how spousal support is awarded and how child custody and support are awarded.
These legal standards are rarely as black and white as the law or the internet make them sound. Many of the standards are multitiered and the facts of your unique case could strongly influence the court's ultimate decisions.
Determine Whether You Need a Family Law Lawyer
If you're getting divorced and aren't sure whether you need an attorney, remember that there's no harm in checking it out. Just call the Orlando divorce attorneys at Draper Law Offices at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation or contact us online.