When a marriage is struggling, you experience many emotions. That emotional roller coaster doesn’t stop by deciding to end the union. On the contrary, you are in for an even greater time of emotional turmoil as you go through the process. Even if it is an amicable separation, you are still going to be struggling with questions that you may not have answers to. One question at the forefront of your mind will be whether you need a divorce attorney to represent you.
In all honesty, the answer to that question isn’t an easy one. You may think that because you have limited property or no children that there is no need to involve lawyers to confuse the process. You just want it over with, and aren’t sure you want to rely on someone else to make the decisions. For a handful of people, that can work out fine. However, for the majority, having someone that understands family law is important to ensure things go smoothly.
The Issue With Verbal Agreements
For those who are determined to go it alone, remember that verbal agreements may work out well between you and your former spouse. However, without a written document supporting what you negotiated, there is no way for you to force your former partner to abide by those terms. Documents containing the agreement, with the required signatures, must be filed with the courts at the time of the divorce in order for the negotiated agreement to be enforceable.
Representation Does Not Hurt
You may believe that you can only have an amicable separation as long as lawyers are not involved. There is a fear that representation will fan the flames of animosity and cause what would have been a calm, quiet negotiation to become heated and drag out the process. If you choose the right divorce attorney, this won’t be an issue.
This process has become known as a collaborative practice and it is something many lawyers offer their clients. In this process, you don’t spend hours in a courtroom letting a judge decide what is best. Instead, you and your representative work with your former spouse and his or her lawyer to reach an agreement with which you are both satisfied.
While many lawyers are willing to take a case in this manner, it will only work if both sides approach the dissolution of the marriage in this way. Both you and your former spouse sign an agreement at the beginning of the process stating that you will work through negotiations rather than court hearings. Sadly, if this process fails, you may have to hire a different divorce attorney and go through the litigation process in order to reach an agreement.