Divorce is something that nobody wants to think about until it’s actually happening. We’re often encouraged to be as romantic as possible when preparing for marriage — both by those we know and love, and by society at large. We focus so much on love stories that we fail to consider practicalities. This is one of the many reasons why so often, newlyweds fail to make prenuptial or even postnuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements simply don’t seem to be very romantic, setting the marriage up to fail. In fact, this is not the case at all — marriages don’t fail because of these types of agreements, but the fallout surrounding divorce is often exacerbated because we aren’t prepared for it. Divorce is often approached firs without the help of a divorce lawyer. Why is this? Because we’re so encouraged to ignore the realities of marriage before plunging in headfirst that we naively assume that, should we get divorced, we can handle it ourselves. The presence of divorce lawyers is crucial to a well-negotiated divorce for many reasons. Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, it’s happening — the question is whether or not yours will work in your favor. Below, we’ve listed a few reasons why enlisting a divorce lawyer is necessary for such proceedings.
1. Saving Money
One of the many reasons why divorce lawyers are often ignored when people first begin divorce proceedings is that the parties involved want to save money. This is ironic, because often, working without divorce lawyers is what loses you money in the first place. When approaching divorce, many couples are already dealing with financial strain — this is one of the leading causes of divorce, after all. Typically, the average American has 13 payment cards, with the usual spend on a car being 112% higher than what would have been spent with cash. For that matter, it’s estimated that fewer than one in four Americans have enough money saved to cover at least six months of living expenses in case of emergency. Finally, it’s believed that 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with 27% having no savings at all. One of the reasons why it’s so important for Americans to begin their divorces with lawyers present is that while lawyers cost money, divorce court can get much more expensive, and quickly. While you may think that divorcing without a lawyer is saving money, this strategy often leads you to court, and down a rabbit hole of court fees. This has been known to send some divorcing couples into bankruptcy. A lawyer may cost money, but ultimately they’re helping you save as well.
2. Custody Matters
Custody is not something to be trifled with. Many divorcing couples have children, and while custody issues can technically be settled without a lawyer’s help, they rarely are. Without a lawyer representing your interests, you can easily end up in a major custody battle. This is terrible for all parties involved on an emotional level — and it can end very badly for one parent if it goes to court. In that case, a judge will have to make a decision regarding custody, and that decision is not always going to be what makes the entire family happy. Conversely, some divorces come about due to domestic abuse. While it can be difficult for domestic abuse cases to go to court, it still remains the priority to keep the children away from a dangerous parent. This can be done more effectively with divorce lawyers present.
3. Asset Issues
Your assets are essentially everything you own of value. When a prenuptial agreement isn’t present, it can be difficult to divvy up assets — and in some cases, states have specific laws regarding assets that may not be satisfying. A lawyer can help you and your ex-partner find a practical, satisfying solution to issues of assets. Without a lawyer, however, you run the risk of losing money and even property.