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10 Reasons Why Having a Divorce Attorney is Better Than Representing Yourself

If you are considering a divorce or another family court matter, you may think you don’t need, or can’t afford a family law attorney. Before you attempt to represent yourself in family court, consider these 10 reasons why a family law attorney can be invaluable. You might even save money in the long run.

  1. Accurate Documents. From start to finish, dissolution cases involve a lot of complicated paperwork. Family lawyers know how to draft, file, serve, and present the necessary forms and pleadings to ensure the important issues are raised and resolved. Keep in mind, family court judges have the discretion to exclude any documents that are not prepared and filed correctly.
  2. Mental and Emotional Protection. Some parties resort to threats and emotional abuse to intimidate their soon-to-be ex-spouse. A divorce attorney can shield you and ensure you don’t feel pressured into a bad decision, especially if you don’t understand your legal rights.
  3. Peace of mind. Even with a family law attorney by your side, a divorce can be an emotional experience. Let your divorce lawyer focus on the legal details while you deal with the rollercoaster of emotions you will experience, and focus your energy on caring for your children and keeping your job secured.
  4. Objectivity. Divorce lawyers are trained to handle cases without emotional or personal attachment. Although they are obligated to represent your best interests at all times, they won’t make rash decisions in the heat of the moment.
  5. Knowledge of Divorce Law. A divorce trial is much more than simply telling your side of the story. Family courts are obligated to follow prior case law and statutory guidelines. If you don’t understand the law, you won’t know what evidence you must present to win your case. If you are unrepresented, but your opponent has an attorney, you will be at a clear disadvantage.
  6. Litigation Skills. An experienced divorce lawyer is familiar with similar cases that the family court must follow. With that knowledge, your attorney will explain the strengths and weaknesses you must address at trial, present your case to the court while protecting your best interests, and prepare you for a realistic outcome.
  7. Weighing Your Settlement Options. In a divorce, you may need to balance some issues against others and leverage your position to ensure you receive the best outcome for your situation. A family law attorney can guide you through settlement negotiations or even recommend trial alternatives such as mediation or collaborative divorce processes to help you resolve your case more quickly and with less expense.
  8. Local Legal Experience. Over time, a divorce attorney becomes familiar with relevant case law, how local family courts interpret the law, and how judges are inclined to rule on specific issues. Your local family law attorney has also opposed other local lawyers and has learned the best ways to deal with them.
  9. Trial Experience. A divorce trial involves many complicated rules. Very few non-lawyers understand the rules of evidence and how to present trial evidence that will be accepted by the court. If your testimony or evidence is inadmissible, the court cannot consider it and key information may be excluded. Plus, if you need to call upon experts such as doctors or counselors, most attorneys have a network of quality professionals who can assist.
  10. Save Money. Yes, you will probably have to pay attorney’s fees, but your family law attorney will ensure that you receive your fair share of the marital property, the correct amount of child support or spousal maintenance where applicable, and that you don’t pay an unfair amount of debt or other expenses that are not required by law. Your attorney could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Don’t go through a divorce alone. Whether settling or going to trial, you need an experienced family law attorney to ensure your best possible outcome. At Evans Kingsbury LLP we have decades of divorce experience including trials, mediation, and settlement success. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 or fill out our easy contact form to discuss your case.

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