Do You Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?

When You Do – and Do Not – Need a Divorce Lawyer

Do you need to hire a divorce attorney?

Divorce Signpost Meaning Custody Split Assets And Lawyers

Whether or not you should hire a divorce lawyer depends on many different factors – including the value of your property and how cooperative both of you are capable of being.

On TV and in the movies, divorce usually involves both parties and their lawyers slugging it out or settling things in court. This does not have to be the case. The details of every divorce case are different. Depending on your unique situation, you may or may not need to hire a divorce lawyer.

Should You Hire a Divorce Lawyer? Extremely short-term marriage, no children and no assets. 

If you have been married less that two years and have no children together, no property, no financial investments or accounts or other assets acquired during the marriage, you can try the do-it-yourself packets provided by the Office of Court Administration.  Notice I said Office of Court Administration and not some online store. New York State is very specific about what forms need to be used.  Do not waste money on a legal online purchase that you may not be able to use.  Also, note:  the packet does not give any legal advice and no person associated with providing the packet does either.

Should You Hire a Divorce Lawyer? Just because you think your divorce is uncontested doesn’t mean you don’t need to hire an attorney.

Remember in New York State even uncontested divorces require a lawsuit. There is no piece of paper you sign and are divorced.  You are required to follow all of the rules that all other lawsuits follow for preparation and filing of documents and service of documents.

Your divorce does not come with a do-over-clause, so if you forget something or change your mind or didn’t understand something-YOU ARE OFTEN STUCK WITH THE TERMS OF YOUR DIVORCE.

How do you know you have explored all of your options or are choosing what is best for you or your family long term.  Do you really know what you are entitled to or better yet what you will need in the future.  Remember you don’t know what you don’t know.

When You May Need to Hire a Divorce Lawyer

There are a few additional situations in which you should hire a divorce lawyer. These situations can occur whether or not your divorce is contested or uncontested:

You and your spouse have high-value assets that must be divided;

There are children from your marriage to your spouse;

You or your spouse owns a business; or

Your spouse has hired an attorney.

If your spouse hires an attorney, you should also seriously consider hiring an attorney to avoid any disadvantage. In addition, if you and your spouse do not have a good relationship and you think there is a possibility that an uncontested divorce can quickly develop into a series of difficult issues, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney.

Stacey A. Balduf, Esq.  has practiced law since 1987, with an emphasis on representing clients in family law matters including contested custody disputes and divorce matters.