Divorce Lawyer, Mediator, or Do it Yourself: The Guide to Who to Hire to do Your Divorce
Pros and Cons of hiring a lawyer, mediator, or going solo.
When to Hire a Family Law Attorney
The first thing to say is that divorces can have lifelong consequences. If you have children, their future (and yours with them) is going to be dependent upon the decisions your family law judge will make. If you have assets that need to be divided in the divorce, the financial fallout can travel with you for decades. Also, if one party makes significantly more money than the other, they can be on the hook for years of spousal support.
If any of these situations apply to you, you should at the very least consult with a few attorneys to determine if you need representation. Generally, if any of these situations apply to your divorce, or they might apply, it is almost never worth the risk to save a few bucks by trying to do it on your own, in large part because you may not even know you have done things wrong until you are having problems and have already lost out on something you thought you had worked out.
If none of these situations apply to you, then you might be able to represent yourself if you need to for financial reasons. However, if the other person hires a lawyer, you probably should as well, otherwise you will almost certainly get taken advantage of by their lawyer’s expertise.
With all of that said, some people may feel that they would prefer to just do uncontested paperwork, or to hire a mediator directly without anyone hiring a lawyer. While that may be an option, these are usually situations where an uncontested divorce or peaceful divorce is a real option and that can be much less expensive so lets examine that possibility next.
When to Consider an Uncontested Divorce or Peaceful Divorce
When You Might Consider a Mediator to Help Your Divorce Along
How quickly should you act after deciding to get divorced?
There are many things that can factor into the decision of how quickly you should take action after making the finial decision that you are in fact going to go through with getting a divorce. Most commonly, if one person needs financial assistance from the other during their divorce, you will want to act very quickly to consult with an attorney and discuss your options for getting financial assistance. Another common reason to consult quickly is if you have children, especially if you are anticipating some disagreements with your spouse about custody or parenting time. If this describes your situation then you need to consult with an attorney immediately.
Often, custody cases are won or lost within a few days or a week of the decision to divorce. If you delay getting advice about your situation, you may end up ruining your chances to establish a favorable parenting plan forever. Luckily, with help and a plan, often a more favorable plan can be achieved, even if you may never know how much worse it could have been. The earlier you consult with an attorney the better advice, time to plan, and opportunity to negotiate they will have.
You may also find our article What is the Value of Hiring a Divorce Attorney to provide an even greater understanding of what a divorce attorney can do for you.
Tom Brasier is an experienced divorce and custody attorney for Brasier Law a family law firm based in Portland, Oregon and serving the greater Portland areas as well as Southwest Washington. You can contact Tom Brasier at 1 (503) 855-4777 for a free consultation concerning divorce, custody, and other family law matters.