Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Hiring an attorney is a stressful, expensive endeavor. Indeed, out of all the costs likely to arise during your divorce, the fees you pay your lawyer will likely make up the bulk of your expenses—by a lot.
Worse, still, there’s no way to tell how long you’ll have to keep paying them.
These uncertainties leave many financially savvy clients wondering if they’d be better off not hiring an attorney, altogether. (After all, think of all the money you could save by simply representing your own divorce!)
Before you get too excited about that prospect, though, think again. Attorneys might not come cheap, but they’re well worth the cost in the end—trust us.
To find out more, here are some of the top reasons why you do need an attorney for your divorce, and how Provinziano and Associates can help you get one.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Honestly? You don’t.
That’s right, just like everything else in family law, California law does not require you to “lawyer up,” in order to get a divorce. And this is true, no matter what type of divorce you choose. Whether an uncontested divorce hashed out around your kitchen table, or into the throes of a full-court trial, when it comes to breaking up your marriage, self-representation is always an option.
That being said, can and should are two very different things.
While attorneys aren’t required, not hiring one for your divorce would be like sending Luke Skywalker out to take down Darth Vader without stopping by Yoda’s hut, first: unwise, and potentially fatal.
A divorce attorney is there to champion your rights, guide you to success, steer you around expensive pitfalls, and ensure you don’t walk yourself into a situation you can’t get out of.
To prove what we mean, here are the top five reasons why you really do need an attorney, and why you shouldn’t leave home without one.
1. Your Stress Level Will be Insane
One of the best things an attorney can do for you, is help reduce your stress load.
When it comes to divorce, there are a lot of details to keep track of—divorce paperwork, filing deadlines, fees, and hearing dates, to name a few. All of which gets dumped on you in an avalanche of unfamiliar information that can quickly suffocate, if you’re not careful.
However, with an attorney, you no longer have to worry about any of that.
Just like you don’t pay attention to things like speed limits and red lights when your Über driver is at the wheel, an attorney’s job is to take over legal navigation; freeing up your valuable mental bandwidth to focus on more important things.
2. You Won’t Have to Talk to Your Ex
Another source of stress an attorney takes off your shoulders is communication. There’s a lot of it during divorce—especially with your ex—which isn’t fun, and can sometimes be detrimental.
Luckily, with an attorney, you have your very own gatekeeper. Someone to relieve you from the obligation of having to communicate with your spouse, and to notify you (respectfully and courteously), if anything important does come up.
The only exception to this is you have a temporary order (about, say, child custody or temporary alimony). In these situations, you might, occasionally, have to break the no contact rule in order to coordinate. Otherwise, there’s no need to communicate if you don’t want to.
3. You’ll be Overwhelmed by Legal Jargon
As you’re probably aware, divorce law is complicated. The jargon is formal, stilted, and filled with enough run-on sentences to make anyone breathless.
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around this (language and drafting plays an important role in closing up any unintended loopholes in the law). On the bright side, with an attorney on board, you have your own, personal legal interpreter.
A lawyer’s familiarity with this way of speaking enables them to read, interpret, and regurgitate complex divorce law as easily as a bedtime story. (Almost.) Not only do these handy skills save you a lot of time, money, and stress, they also enable your attorney to apply the law to your case in a way that actually makes sense.
4. You Won’t Always Know What to Do
No matter how many times you’ve been married (and, subsequently, divorced), chances are your attorney has you well beaten on “Number of Divorces Endured.”
This is great since there are a lot of overwhelming choices headed your way.
From selecting a divorce type to drafting parenting plans, dividing retirement accounts, all the way down to who keeps the family pet, your journey will be filled with decisions—choices that can be hard to make when you don’t know where each one leads, or how the outcomes affect each other.
This is where your attorney’s experience becomes an invaluable resource, giving them the foresight to not only predict what will likely happen, but also when to expect it, and how to react when it does. This knowledge, in turn, enables them to guide you toward the path that is most likely to succeed.
5. There Will be a Lot of Risks
Lawsuits are serious business, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong—especially since with so many details to keep track of. And these aren’t Little League details, either.
Between divorce complaints, custody disputes, protective orders, parental rights, and property, dissolving a marriage involves a lot of important rights. All of which must be executed according to specific protocols. Failure to do so can—at the very least—result in fines and delays; at most, default judgments, the loss of rights, and even contempt of court.
These types of mistakes are avoidable, but only if you know what to watch out for. When you don’t, they can be expensive—and sometimes impossible—to reverse.
Hence, while the cost of an attorney might seem like too much, when you compare it to what you’d end up paying to fix a mistake, the price suddenly seems more than reasonable.
In Short? An Attorney Just Makes Sense
Relationships aren’t ever the same—and neither are divorces. So it makes sense that what you need out of a divorce attorney might be a lot different than what your friend down the street needs.
For example, an uncontested divorce for a couple with no kids and few assets certainly won’t require the same attorney involvement as divorce litigation. Likewise, spouses who have a prenuptial agreement will probably be just fine with mediation.
Still, we can’t think of a single divorce that wouldn’t benefit from at least some kind of attorney involvement. And if costs are a concern, know that there are ways to mitigate this expense, without playing risky guesswork with self-representation.
A good attorney is one who structures their legal strategy to fit your needs—not the other way around. They respect your time, your wants, and your budget, representing your interests within whatever parameters you set.
Do You Need an Attorney to Help with Your Divorce?
If you have more questions about divorce attorneys in California—and how one can help in your case—we want to hear from you. Call Provinziano & Associates at (310) 237-6179, or get in touch online, and together, we can find the best divorce strategy for you.