One of the first questions to come up for most people when they are thinking about filing for divorce in Missouri is whether they need a divorce lawyer. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, and you have a truly uncontested divorce, it is still a good idea to have a divorce lawyer review the agreement and make sure it is in a format that the court will accept. A divorce without a lawyer presents risks, and hiring a Missouri divorce attorney can benefit you in more ways than you might realize. Perhaps the best answer to the question “Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?” is that you should consult with a lawyer, even if you do not think you need one. The following are just a few reasons why a divorce lawyer can help you.
In Missouri, divorce lawyers play many roles in the divorce process. They can help you understand your rights and obligations, gather evidence to support your claims, and advocate for you in negotiations and courtroom proceedings. They often do much more than that as well.
Lawyers are sometimes known as “counselors,” and while they are not therapists or clergy divorce lawyers have helped their clients go through extremely difficult times and come out the other side. A divorce lawyer can remind you that this is just the end of a chapter in your life, and that there is more life ahead for you. Sometimes, they can help just by listening.
Divorce is a complicated process that can upend nearly every part of your life. If you are wondering whether you can get a divorce without a lawyer, try this exercise: take a moment and write down all of the issues that you will have to address in your own divorce.
Do you think you got everything? If you have children, did you include child custody, child support, and visitation? What about spousal maintenance? You might know about property division, but did you include all of the marital property? Your list includes the house and the cars, but what about retirement accounts or stocks?
This is not intended to embarrass you. The point is that few people without experience as a family and divorce lawyer can look at a particular case and quickly identify all of the potential issues. A skilled divorce attorney can do that, and the value of that expertise is difficult to measure.
When considering whether you can get a divorce without a lawyer, you may think that you will save money by not hiring a lawyer This might be true, but it will almost certainly cost you time, energy, and opportunities.
A party to a divorce, or any other court case, who appears in court without a lawyer is known as a pro se litigant. Many judges do not like having pro se litigants in their courtrooms, in large part because lawyers already know each judge’s rules, procedures, and expectations. Judges rarely cut pro se litigants any slack for getting a divorce without a lawyer, even if the other side has their own lawyer. They hold pro se litigants to the same strict standards as attorneys.
Divorce is complicated. It is also stressful. It will cause upheaval in all parts of your life. The effects of that should never be underestimated. A divorce lawyer helps lighten the stress load by helping you take on what you would otherwise be doing all yourself. We can help you avoid any delays in your case and can ensure that all of the paperwork is in order. Let a divorce attorney bear a large part of the load for you.
Every divorce is an emotional ordeal for both spouses. Even if both spouses think the divorce will be simple and straightforward, anger, and other emotions can appear at any time. Some divorces will result in a lengthy and difficult trial. Most divorces do not. A divorce lawyer’s job is to be a tireless advocate for their client’s interests, but also to help them know when it is time to fight, and when it is best to come to the negotiating table.
Every divorce presents a unique set of issues and challenges. A divorce lawyer knows other practitioners who work in the same area of law, as well as other professionals who can help your case. This might involve:
You might be able to file for divorce without a lawyer, but you need a divorce lawyer to build the best possible team to advocate for your rights and interests.
Kansas City family lawyer Mark A. Wortman focuses his practice exclusively on divorce and related family law matters. Please contact us online or at (816) 523-6100 today to schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you.