Divorce is never easy: it’s uncomfortable, stressful, and emotionally draining. Even if you and your spouse are splitting on amicable terms, going through the entire process without sufficient legal assistance can be extremely messy.
Many couples who are looking to split quickly and painlessly think about hiring the same attorney to save on time and reduce attorney fees. Unfortunately, from a legal standpoint, that’s simply not possible.
Here we’ll discuss this topic in detail to help you understand divorce law a bit better so you can move on with your life as quickly as possible.
One lawyer cannot represent both sides in a divorce: it’s considered a conflict of interest.
Even if you and your spouse only want the best for each other, in divorce, you’ll have different goals and requirements. Having a single lawyer represent you is simply impossible, and quite frankly, illegal. An attorney’s job is to represent your interests and they can’t do that if they also have to represent the other side.
Of course, if your main goal is to avoid expensive attorney fees, you can always represent yourself instead. However, that only works if your spouse chooses to do the same. Otherwise, you might end up doing yourself a disservice.
Hiring legal experts can be expensive, but choosing not to hire them can be even costlier in the long run. Make sure you consider all of your options before you opt for self-representation in court.
You can hire a mediator as an alternative.
If you and your spouse want to settle things out of court, but you’d still like to receive legal assistance during your divorce, you can seek the help of a mediator. They won’t be able to give you legal advice, but they can educate you on your rights and help you achieve the best outcome and maximum satisfaction for both parties.
Again, you can’t expect the mediator to give you legal advice, as it would be the same as representing your interests. Still, if you’d like to finalize your divorce without ever going to court, they can provide an excellent negotiating environment and teach you about the law so you both know how to proceed later on.
Hiring your own attorney is in your best interest.
Divorce is never a comfortable experience, no matter how much you two agree on everything. There’s always going to be some type of dispute that requires professional assistance to be resolved quickly and with no hard feelings left lingering around.
Besides, if your spouse decides to hire one (and you decide against it), you’re likely going to lose more than you can imagine. Professional lawyers don’t care about the other party, their only job is to look out for their clients. So, make sure you hire someone to look out for you as soon as you file those papers. It will make things much less complicated and you’ll be out of that marriage as quickly as possible.
If there are children involved, representing yourself isn’t an option anymore.
No matter how amicable your divorce may be, if there’s a custody battle at stake, you should not leave anything to chance. Even if you think you can come to an agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, getting some professional advice wouldn’t hurt. Again, divorces aren’t comfortable nor easy: you might not be thinking clearly at the moment.
Making even the smallest mistake and agreeing to something without giving it a second thought could cost you precious time with your children in the future.
That’s something you’d want to avoid at all costs, so ensure you’ve considered all of your options first. Hire someone who can provide you with an objective opinion and get you the results you deserve.
Even if you decide not to hire an attorney, you should meet with one prior to the start of the divorce process.
If you and your spouse agree neither want to get lawyers involved, you should still meet with one to help you understand your rights before you go through with the divorce. They can also help you reach a better understanding of how refusing to hire a legal professional can affect your rights during your divorce, which can be useful to know.
As noted at Kabir Family Law, a short consultation with a lawyer won’t cost you much but it can make the difference between walking out of your marriage content and ready to move on or letting your divorce leave you bitter and unhappy for years to come. So, whatever you do, make sure you at least talk to a lawyer before proceeding with the divorce process.
Make sure to work with specialized attorneys.
Choosing the right attorney can be a daunting task, especially if you’re working on a tight budget. Still, picking someone who’s knowledgeable and experienced in handling divorce cases is of the utmost importance. Always ask for referrals and ensure the law firm you choose is well-reviewed and respected in your local area.
Again, if you’re working on a tight budget (legal services can be quite expensive), you might not have many options available. However, hiring an attorney is always better than going through a complex legal process alone, so do everything you can to get the legal assistance you deserve.
We also suggest booking a consultation (most law firms offer these for free) and talk to your potential hire before you decide to make them your representative. In this way, you can judge their abilities yourself and see whether they’re the right “fit” for you or not.
The bottom line
One lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce, as it’s considered to be a conflict of interest. Still, there are many ways you can handle your divorce and make it less uncomfortable for both sides: hiring a mediator, representing yourself, settling things out of court, and both getting your separate representatives.
Whatever you choose to do, we wish you luck and we hope you manage to move on from your divorce as soon as possible since we all know that it’s not an easy thing to overcome.