Regardless of whether a divorce is amicable or contentious, everyone involved wants to get through it as quickly as possible.
One question that will occur to either spouse during a divorce is whether they need to hire a lawyer to help them. The answer varies depending on the circumstances; in some cases, hiring a lawyer is the right move, but in other cases, the two spouses can resolve things on their own.
That latter scenario is not always common, which is why an attorney is necessary for most divorces. If you live in the Michigan area, are going through a divorce, and you need a lawyer, then contact Ash & Ash Legal Group. They have extensive experience handling divorces and will make sure that you are treated fairly.
When You Need a Divorce Lawyer
Generally, if your spouse has hired a lawyer, then you should hire one too. You do not want to be outgunned in a divorce case and an attorney will give your spouse a huge edge once the proceedings start in earnest.
If a child is involved, then you may need an attorney to sort out the thorny legal issues of custody and child support since you and your spouse would have trouble resolving that situation yourselves.
A lawyer may also be necessary if your spouse is deceptive or vindictive since that means they will likely try to get as much out of the divorce as possible.
In some cases, a marriage ends because one spouse is abusive to the other, in those cases a lawyer should definitely get involved, especially if threats of violence—or actual violence—are involved. If that is the case, then you should file a restraining order and move away from them.
When a Divorce Lawyer is Not Necessary
If you and your spouse are still on reasonably good terms, then you can consider mediation instead of hiring a divorce lawyer.
A mediator is a neutral third-party who does not favor one spouse over the other the way a personal divorce attorney would. That means they will help both of you sort out any issues related to the division of property, spousal support, and child custody.
Mediation retains an air of civility and gives the two of you more control over how you approach your impending split. Mediation will also end up saving you time and money since neither of you will have to retain a divorce attorney.
A divorce lawyer may also be unnecessary if you both meet the eligibility for a summary divorce or dissolution, and you have no major disputes. Those eligibility requirements include the following:
There are no minor children involved
The couple was married for less than five years
The spouses do not own or mortgage a home
Each spouse gives up any right to spousal support
If the couple meets the necessary criteria, then they can get a summary divorce that involves less paperwork, less time, and fewer court appearances, all of which are beneficial to both parties.
Get Your Own Attorney
If the need for a divorce attorney is inevitable, then it is better if you each hire one for yourself. That is because joint representation—one lawyer representing both of you—is not always a good idea and in some cases may be a violation of the lawyer’s ethical standards. However, there are some specific cases where joint representation is a viable option.
One of them is when the couple agrees on the major problems that caused the divorce and fully believe that they can resolve the minor problems involved in the divorce. They should also agree to joint representation, knowing in advance that the lawyer will not be able to represent each of them individually. If the couple meets all of those criteria and just needs the lawyer to draw up the necessary paperwork, then joint representation is viable.
If You Need a Divorce Lawyer, Then Find One Quickly
If you believe that you will need a lawyer for your imminent divorce, then you should hire one as quickly as possible, especially if there are children involved.
However, you should not just hire the first divorce lawyer you find. Search for at least three different lawyers to find one who you believe suits you the best.
You want to make sure that you are well represented in your divorce, especially if your spouse has hired a divorce attorney of their own.