Why You Need a Family Lawyer For a Divorce
By Orlando Family Law Attorney Eduardo J. Mejias
Practicing Exclusively Family Law Since 2005
You Will Probably Regret Not Hiring a Divorce Attorney
Prospective divorce clients often ask me: “Do I really need to hire an attorney for my divorce?” I usually reply, “Well, you’re not required to hire a divorce lawyer, but you’ll probably regret not hiring one. I don't says this as part of a sales pitch.
My answer stems from the dozens of self-representing (pro-se) divorce litigants that have sought my help to modify an unfavorable divorce judgment. Within ten minutes of consulting with these individuals, I can usually identify exactly where the opposing spouse’s attorney exploited their lack of understanding of the law and judicial precedents.
In order to ensure that you don’t become one of these victims, I’ve listed three reasons why you should hire an experienced family law attorney for your divorce:
Divorce Law Is Much More Complex Than You Think
A myriad number of legal issues can arise in a divorce. Even experienced family law attorneys do not always identify all of the issues in a particular divorce. How can someone who is not a family lawyer expect to be able to pinpoint and effectively address all of them?
Even if you dutifully research the statutes and pertinent case law and become somewhat fluent in “legalese,” you will still be unfamiliar with the procedural and administrative practices that vary among the different counties. Procedure can be as important as substance in all areas of family law, including divorces.
Ask yourself: Would you feel confident diagnosing and treating your illness? Unless you’re a doctor, probably not. The same logic applies to representing yourself in a divorce.
Divorces Are Too Emotional For Self-Representation
Abraham Lincoln once said: "He who represents himself has a fool for a client." He directed this quote at lawyers because even they do not possess the requisite objectivity to represent themselves effectively.
What makes you think that you can view your own divorce with the level of detachment necessary to make decisions with long-term implications. I have seen even the most intelligent and rational clients act impulsively during their divorces. Divorces are too fraught with emotion for a spouses to make objective decisions about their own cases.
In The Long Run, You Will Save Money By Hiring an Attorney
The former pro-se divorcing spouses that I mentioned earlier can vouch for this. First, as a pro-se litigant, you’re likely to leave money on the table. This can take the form of an unfair child support or alimony obligation, or an undervaluation of your share of the marital assets. Second, a marital settlement agreement (MSA) that is drafted by your represented spouse will be so one-sided in favor of him or her that you’ll likely have to hire an attorney afterward to undo the damage.
Worse yet, an MSA drafted by two non-lawyers will invariably contain so many ambiguities and loopholes, that one or both ex-spouses will feel compelled to hire a family law attorney to modify the agreement and make it enforceable. Either way, you’ll be wishing that you hired a family lawyer for your divorce.
How You Can Get Help
If you want a qualified and experienced family law attorney to represent you in your divorce, call AAA Family Law at 407-260-6001 and schedule a free thirty-minute initial consultation. At the consultation I will carefully listen to your situation and ask you about your objectives, then present you with a legal action plan to achieve these. And you will know the total of your attorney retainer fees up front before signing a contract or making a payment.
These are the ranges of fees charged by AAA Family Law for representation in a divorce. The actual fee between the ranges depends on the complexity of the case.
Contested Divorce Up To Mediation: $2,000 to $3,000. (An additional retainer amount is set before a trial if there is a trial.)
Uncontested Divorce: $1,000 to $1,500.
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