Often times, when people ask me whether they can afford a lawyer in a divorce, I think an appropriate response is that you cannot afford to not have a lawyer in a divorce.
Unfortunately, a divorce is an adversarial proceeding, which means that you are on your own to ensure that you get the results you need. Usually, in a divorce, the stakes are high because they include ongoing relationships with children, lifetime savings and financial planning, and even restrictions on where you may be able to live with your children.
Navigating within the family law system is complicated because the issues brought to bear are complicated. If these issues were simple, they would be solved within the marriage.
So because the stakes are high and the system is complicated, you need somebody who understands how to navigate through the system and achieve fair results. It is likely that your spouse will have an attorney with years of specific training and experience in achieving the results they are looking for, so it is important that you arm yourself with a team of capable professionals experienced in achieving results for you.
Often times, experienced and knowledgeable attorneys can actually reduce the amount of conflict by bearing the burden of negotiating and moving the process forward without the need for court intervention. An experienced attorney will know the likelihood of an outcome at trial, so they can prepare your expectations and work with your spouse’s attorney in an attempt to avoid conflict and resolve the matter consistent with that outcome.
Most people can download a form online and fill it out. But nobody knows what they don’t know. And in the instance of a temporary orders hearing or other divorce proceeding, what you do not know can affect your future in irreparable ways. You can’t afford to walk into a divorce blindly, there is just too much at stake.