Divorce: Is an Attorney Required?
Many people will search for questions like “do I need an attorney for divorce?” when it comes to ending a marriage. In Oregon and throughout the USA, an attorney is not required for couples to get divorced but there are many advantages to having one and it may be a good idea.
With every divorce, it is a good idea to at least have an initial consultation with an attorney to discuss the specific facts of your situation. While every situation is different, here are some examples of when you definitely should consult with a family law attorney before proceeding. Please note that this is not to say that there are situations where you should not consult with any attorney.
1) You and/or your spouse have a substantial assets or even debts.
If you and your partner have accrued a significant amount of money or assets during your marriage, then it’s probably not wise to divorce without an attorney. Keep in mind that the attorney you will incur fees are probably much less than losing more of your assets that you have to.
2) You own property.
If you have acquired real property or valuable personal property during the marriage, then an attorney can help.
3) There are kids involved.
Couples have been known to prolong custody battles for months or even years. If you believe you are the children’s primary care giver and you wish to have primary custody and an effective parenting plan, then an attorney can help.
What If we’re Divorcing Amicably?
Even if you’re on good terms with your spouse and do not wish to fight over things, that does not mean that you don’t need an attorney. For both spouses, it is wise to at least attend a divorce consultation before proceeding. An attorney can help alert of you of any potential pitfalls with your case.
Sometimes initial consultations are offered at a discounted rate so you can get an idea of whether a lawyer or law firm will be beneficial to you.
Remember, once a divorce is finalized it is very difficult if not impossible to backtrack and reverse decisions that you made like alimony and asset division. If your partner ends up having an attorney to assist them, then you could be at a serious disadvantage.