When might you genuinely not need legal help in a divorce?
There are a few cases where not retaining legal help could make sense. Generally speaking, those who have few or no assets and who do not have children can typically make things easier by simply going into family court and complying with all of the pro forma paperwork as quickly as possible. This can save a great deal on court costs and divorce attorney’s fees. And if there is little current income being earned by either spouse and the marriage has been over a relatively short time span, there is little likelihood that alimony payments or other long-term ramifications will be included in the disposition of the case.
For everyone else, don’t even think about not hiring a lawyer, especially men
However, it cannot be sufficiently stressed that if you have significant assets, children or significant current income or debts, you absolutely must hire a competent attorney. This is trebly true for men, who have the odds stacked against them from the start.
Because nearly 80 percent of all divorces in the United States are currently initiated by women, the most likely divorce scenario is that a man will be getting dragged into family court by his soon-to-be ex-wife. While it is still tempting for many husbands to trust their wives’ better angels, even throughout the course of a contentious split, doing so is financial suicide.
Even the most upstanding people can find their morality bending when confronted with the magnetic pull of huge potential prizes. Divorces in America often end up with spouses, mostly wives, being awarded hundred-thousand- or million-dollar real estate, in full. And as devastating as it can be to lose the source of most of one’s net worth, alimony payments and unfair child support can pose an even greater danger to one’s financial wellbeing because they can make it literally impossible to accumulate future wealth. Child support payments can also put a man at risk of being repeatedly incarcerated over a period of decades. And incarceration terms for non-payment of child support can actually cause someone to find it even more difficult to maintain a decent job, leading to a vicious cycle of serial incarceration.
The good news is that all of this can be prevented through the hiring of an experienced divorce lawyer. Because the stakes are so high — one bad divorce judgment can ruin your life and leave you no recourse — hiring the best divorce attorney you can possibly find may be the best investment you ever make.