Why should I retain an attorney for my divorce?

The process of obtaining a divorce is seldom quick, painless, or without complication. It is difficult to navigate the seemingly endless paperwork that must be filed in the event you and your spouse find yourselves seeking to dissolve your marriage. Many websites and services exist that make the claim that divorce can be “cheap and fast”. Be warned that these claims are typically false, and it is always advised that you seek the assistance of an experienced divorce and family attorney. Consider these reasons to seek the counsel of an experienced divorce and family attorney:

  1. Even in the best case scenario that a divorce is truly uncontested, websites and other services neglect to mention some key points to the consumer. Filing fees for court documents may not be included in the advertised low price for creating divorce documents. Details on divorce forms vary by state and can be changed by the court without being updated online, and the rules governing divorce also vary from one jurisdiction to another. Submitted final paperwork must be complete and free of errors; a judge must be assigned to review and sign the documents before a divorce is considered final. The websites that offer cheap and easy dissolution of a marriage make no guarantee that completed forms are without filing fees and that the information requested on each form is current. The forms available do not delve into any real estate holdings, pensions, annuities, or explain how to list debts accrued during the marriage.
  2. The websites and services advertised for quick, low cost divorce do not make all terms and conditions clear. Such services cannot dispense legal advice, nor can the clerks employed by the court, to help you navigate the myriad of confusing rules, forms, and guidelines. If the consumer reads the Terms of Use outlined on websites, they will be advised that the site or service does not replace legal counsel and are urged to seek an attorney. Many do it yourself divorce websites and services do not have a contact person to assist the user, or even an email address for questions, and the service may be located in a different state. An experienced divorce and family attorney can give advice tailored to your specific situation as the need arises, whether in person or by electronic means.
  3. Many consumers are also surprised to learn that these services do not offer a promise of complete confidentiality. As with the terms of use, many companies do not readily advertise their privacy policy. Upon research, the consumer will learn that in certain situations, your information is not protected and will be surrendered. Many claim to not sell information to third parties, but who can be certain of this in the digital age? Unlike these services, an attorney offers the trusted attorney client privilege relationship, protecting all of your sensitive information.

An experienced attorney and their support staff can offer you many things that a website or paralegal service cannot. They not only inform you of all filing fees upfront, but they can help you complete and check all forms for accuracy to avoid lengthy delays or costly errors. Having experience with the Courts and procedure, they are aware of deadlines and can offer a realistic assessment of how long a divorce can take. Should your divorce involve children, assets, debts, it becomes more imperative that you seek legal counsel. An experienced divorce and family attorney can set your mind at ease during the most difficult times of life - seeking to dissolve your marriage (with or without children involved) as your financial future hangs in the balance - by giving advice tailored to your specific situation as the need arises, whether in person or by electronic means.

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