If you’re seeking a separation or divorce, you should educate yourself about available options, the law, and how decisions you make today could affect you in the future. Divorce is a life-changing event and taking the first step to reach out to a third party for help is difficult – especially when emotions are running high, which is normal for anyone who is beginning this process. An experienced divorce attorney can help to streamline the process and ensure your rights are protected. The right divorce attorney – otherwise known as a family law attorney – will provide compassionate counsel, offer advice for how to communicate with your spouse, and help to develop a focused strategy to achieve the best results possible. Consider the following reasons why you should engage an experienced attorney to guide you through your divorce proceedings.
1. Divorce is Complicated
Most divorces bring a unique set of complications to the table, including: custody issues, property divisions, complex marital estate and support matters, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and protection from abuse litigation. Independently, each of these aspects can cause emotional turmoil. But, when piled on top of each other, the proceedings and accompanying stress can become significantly more difficult. This requires the knowledge of a dedicated family law attorney who will help you understand the legal system and educate you on your options. More importantly, an experienced lawyer will provide the attention and representation necessary to resolve your case through effective negotiation, or aggressive litigation when needed, to help you achieve the results you deserve.
2. You’re Emotionally Invested, Stressed, and Upset
Taking the first step towards divorce can bring about a mixture of emotions ranging from fear to grief, anger, guilt, relief, and everything in between. Generally, divorce is a very stressful time that can hinder a person’s emotional stability and ability to make rational decisions. Due to the complexity of divorce proceedings, case laws, rules, and procedures, you should have an experienced divorce attorney to take care of the details, gather necessary information, and help you understand your options. If you’re still debating whether or not a divorce is the right choice, although no lawyer should ever advise you to get divorced, an experienced family law attorney can answer questions about the process and likely outcomes that can at least help you reach a decision.
3. You Want to Prevent Costly Mistakes and Delays
The choice to hire a divorce attorney is always optional, but it is almost always better to retain a lawyer than trying to navigate the legal system alone. The divorce process, the law, rules, procedure, and family court system are often extremely overwhelming for those who are unfamiliar with it – which only adds to the stress you may experience when going through such a difficult time.
For example, filing for divorce requires ample documentation, and gathering and filling out forms without legal counsel can be challenging. Mistakes – such as forgetting to mention medical issues, credit-card debt, or a company pension, or misjudging the value of an asset – can keep you from achieving your desired goals. If your case goes to court, these kinds of mistakes can damage the judge’s opinion of your competence, trustworthiness, or honesty – even if these were honest mistakes. Such errors can also result in additional financial burdens or legal proceedings since it is often more expensive and more time consuming to correct a mistake than it would have been to handle an issue correctly from the start.
This is why an experienced family law attorney is such a vital and valuable part of the divorce process. Attorneys will prepare and file all paperwork and applicable motions to finalize proceedings as quickly and smoothly as possible. They know how to phrase divorce agreements with language that ensures enforcement of the terms. Engaging a lawyer for help will also ensure that a clear and binding agreement and Divorce Decree are presented to the court and, when necessary, the divorce attorney who has prepared your case can effectively represent you in court.
4. You’re Facing a High-Net-Worth Divorce
For high-net-worth divorces, it is crucial to retain an attorney who brings years of relevant experience, financial expertise, and advanced negotiation skills to the table. High-asset divorces can be complex and present their own sets of challenges – but an experienced divorce attorney understands how to navigate the valuation and distribution of all high-value marital assets and liabilities. This may include real estate, expensive personal property, business and professional practices, stock options, cars and boats, high-end jewelry, and valuable art and collectibles. A lawyer can also help you assess the full nature and scope of your marital property, which enables all parties to work towards achieving an effective division of the assets and debts between spouses.
5. Your Lines of Spousal Communication are Down
The lines of communication between spouses may be damaged or completely broken by the time the divorce process starts. This can lead to additional complications, delays, and expense since much of the paperwork and process requires coordination and involvement of both parties. A divorce lawyer can help bridge any communication gaps and coordinate the logistics so you do not have to.
It’s unusual for both parties to be in complete agreement about every divorce issue; some can’t even agree on a single issue. An experienced divorce attorney can offer advice and guidance when you’re stuck, and they can let you know whether or not your expectations and demands are realistic. You divorce attorney can also tell you how the family court judges tend to rule on similar issues in your area so that you can prepare for the likely outcomes – and know when you need to shift your expectations into line with your state or city’s reality. A good family law attorney will also be able to advocate effectively for you in court and with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, giving you a better chance of obtaining the results you desire and deserve.
Robert T. Repko has dedicated his professional career to helping those who need it most, when they need it most. He built a successful trial practice focusing on representing individuals in matters related to divorce, custody, support, domestic violence and protection from abuse, as well as driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) and criminal defense. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Delaware Valley University. www.repkolaw.com