Recently someone also asked about whether it’s necessary to hire a lawyer during the one-year separation period required by North Carolina law.
The short answer is no. Many people do not retain legal counsel at first. If you can figure out together how to divvy up your things and work out a parenting agreement, you might not need a lawyer. But if one partner does not agree about how to best separate, you will probably find it beneficial to hire a divorce lawyer.
However, even if you do not decide to hire an attorney, most people find it valuable to speak with one to seek out as much advice as possible. Here are some other upsides and downsides as you consider when and if to hire an attorney for your divorce.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
To start out, divorce lawyers can help you navigate the law; they know when to file what paperwork not just for the legal part of divorce, but child custody and property issues. If you’re heading to court to settle your divorce, he or she can advise you on the most thoughtful way to approach a situation.
Even if you want to file on your own, you’ll probably have questions about the process and the paperwork, and it’s nice to have someone answer those. The same is true for a separation agreement. Your lawyer is the person looking out for you and making sure all language in these documents is not going to harm your rights in any way. If you and your partner create a separation agreement and later end up in court, that document might be used against you to show you had previously agreed to something you’re now arguing against.
Additionally, there are quite a few situations regarding personal and employment clauses that can be difficult to correctly handle on your own. People who are self-employed often have questions about their insurance, for example.
When You Might Not Need an Attorney
One downside to hiring an attorney is that your partner might feel more hostile. To avoid exacerbating this tension, you may want to consider talking through the separation agreement solely between you and your partner. However, if you deem the conflict and tension unavoidable, then a legal counsel is probably your best course of action.
In general, people who divorce without lawyers are those who have no children, no property, and earn about the same level of income, making things a mostly even split.
If you’re not sure whether you need or attorney or when to hire one, visit our workshop to get some answers.
This post is meant for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.