Can You Get Divorced Without A Lawyer?
If you have decided to divorce your spouse, one of your first questions may be whether or not you need a divorce lawyer. Unfortunately, the answer to that is not a simple one and will depend on the facts in your case. Although there are times when you can file for divorce without using a lawyer, especially when you have no assets, debt, alimony or children issues, it is preferable to use an attorney to make sure the process is done correctly and have an attorney appear at the final hearing. Additionally, there are also some instances in which you should always allow a lawyer to handle the details of your case.
When You May Not Need a Divorce Lawyer
Not all divorce cases involve complex issues or a long and drawn out courtroom battle. Sometimes, divorce is a much simpler process. If you and your spouse agree to all terms, such as property division and child custody, etc. this would be considered an uncontested divorce. It will allow you to retain control over the process and its outcome, and it can also save you time and money.
However, regardless of how simple it may seem, it is often best for at least one of the parties to work with an attorney to make sure that the process runs smoothly and all pleadings are filed prior to a final hearing. One attorney cannot ethically represent both parties, although it is possible for one of parties to work with an attorney and that party can work with the other party on completing everything necessary to proceed to a final hearing.
Furthermore, a marital settlement agreement will be necessary unless you have no children, no alimony, no property or debts together. If one is required, it is best to have an experienced divorce lawyer prepare this agreement to avoid errors which may affect you after the divorce is final, which often happens if the parties prepare the agreement. If you have children, it is much more complicated as a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet will need to be completed and filed and a parenting plan must be agreed upon, signed by the parties and filed.
Although there is a court hearing involved in uncontested divorce cases, it is very short and is mostly a formality to finalize the divorce. Most of the time, only one of the parties is required to attend it and often it can be done via Zoom.
Many people do not know how to properly draft a marital settlement agreement, so it is sometimes best to work with a lawyer who can draft it properly, so that it is enforceable. Also, at the very least allowing a lawyer to review the document before you submit it to the court will help ensure you are not signing away your rights.
When Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?
There are some instances in which you should always work with a lawyer when going through a divorce. These include:
- There is a history of abuse: A history of abuse or domestic violence will always make a divorce more difficult. A lawyer can help you through the unique challenges these cases present, and keep you safe.
- You suspect dishonesty: If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or otherwise being dishonest, you need a lawyer who can protect your rights.
- Your spouse has hired a lawyer: If your spouse has retained legal counsel, it is important to have a lawyer who will fight for your rights, too.
Our Divorce Lawyers in Tampa Can Review Your Case
If you are getting a divorce, our Tampa divorce lawyers will help. At All Family Law Group, P.A., our seasoned attorneys can help you through every step of the process. Call us today at 813-672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.