In my family law practice, I hear the same question all the time from clients: why, if my spouse and I “agree on everything,” would we need to hire a divorce attorney? The answer is multifaceted but, in a nutshell,, you definitely want an experienced professional to prepare the correct documents, in the proper manner and then file them in the appropriate place and at the right time. Even if husband and wife agree on what they want (regarding assets, child custody, support, etc.), in order to properly effectuate their agreed-upon terms, the divorce process needs to be completed pursuant to the guidelines of the applicable state law, i.e. the Pennsylvania Divorce Code. It is not enough for one to just look up/read those rules, either – what is also needed is an experienced legal practitioner who will know the nuances, exceptions and local rules involved in the application of the statutory provisions. Additionally, a seasoned divorce attorney knows that every county has slightly different requirements and procedures for divorce cases and you will want to make use of a local attorney’s experience and expertise to avoid any pitfalls.
Attempting to prepare, file and possibly litigate your divorce case without the specialized knowledge of a family law attorney will result in wasted time and money by the parties. More importantly, not having an attorney prepare the documents and guide you through the process significantly reduces the likelihood that you and your spouse will obtain the desired end results. This is particularly true when a couple has acquired any significant assets throughout the duration of the marriage (e.g. a marital home, rental properties or other joint investments). In these cases, comprehensive and complex documents, including but not limited to a property settlement agreement, should be prepared by a legal expert and then correctly filed with the court, so as to foreclose any confusion or disputes by either party in the future.
A final reason that you should retain an attorney to help you with your divorce case concerns the emotional aspect of the process. Going through a divorce is obviously a time of heightened feelings for everyone involved. It is a time where thoughts of sadness, anger and/or depression invariably will prevent either or both parties from understanding and accepting the actions that need to be taken. This is one of the areas where our firm’s family law attorneys really shine – being able to temper the emotionality inherent in the process, while still maintaining empathy and caring for the client. It is this delicate balance that we feel is of paramount importance to maintain when assisting our clients through the course of their divorce case.
Whether you are just in the initial stages of contemplating divorce or you have definitively made the decision to initiate divorce proceedings, please give us a call to discuss your options. We have the knowledge, experience and compassion needed to help you navigate the divorce process and we are always eager to help.