The attorney that you retain for your divorce will have a major impact on the outcome. While it is true that hiring a lawyer will increase how much it costs to get a divorce, you could lose much more if you try to handle your divorce without professional assistance.
Yes, you can certainly file the necessary paperwork for divorce without legal assistance. You might even be able to negotiate with your ex. However, you won’t know if you have put yourself at a significant disadvantage until it is potentially too late to correct the problem.
What are some of the wrist if you forego attorney representation during your divorce?
You will lack insight into the basics of the legal divorce process
Unless you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, predicting what will happen in your divorce can be quite difficult. If you litigate matters, a judge decides how to split up your property or divide your parenting time.
Do you understand what influences custody decisions? Do you understand what equitable distribution rules mean for your property? When you aren’t really familiar with state law or with the legal precedent for cases with similar circumstances, you won’t know what you can request or how you can defend against unreasonable demands by your spouse.
You may be at a disadvantage during negotiations
Especially if your ex decides to hire a lawyer, you can have a hard time securing a fair outcome to negotiations or litigation. If they have a lawyer and you do not, you will be at a marked disadvantage. Even if they have promised you that they will not bring an attorney into the situation, you have no way of knowing whether they will make good on that promise.
You could lose your composure during court
Few things will make a judge question your ability to parent like an angry outburst in court. When an attorney handles your divorce for you, they will remain professional and attached during court because they understand how to present themselves and respond to the other lawyer or the judge.
As a layperson, even if you memorize certain details about court or the law, you could still have an intense emotional reaction to something in court. An aggravated outburst could be enough to make you look unstable to the courts or lend credence to your ex’s claim that you are violent, aggressive or unpredictable.
Having an attorney help you during your Pennsylvania divorce will make it easier for you to protect yourself and make the best of what is surely a difficult situation for your family.