Divorce isn’t a four-letter word, but it should be. It’s ugly and messy, and the ones who get hurt the most are usually the ones least involved: any children in the marriage, who invariably get caught up in child custody disputes, custody evaluations, and sometimes even international custody disputes. In fact, children of divorced parents are twice as likely to drop out of school than their counterparts from unbroken homes.
The results of divorce are hard on everyone, though. A study from the University of Chicago found that men are more likely than their wives to end up drinking after a divorce. And a study done out of the University of Florence found that one of the major’s causes of divorce–infidelity–also brings with it a higher risk of having a fatal heart attack.
Of course, not all divorces have to be so difficult. An uncontested divorce can happen, and some people do separate quite amicably. Unfortunately, these are the exceptions to the rule. That’s why it makes sense have a divorce attorney, even if things seem amicable at the moment.
- Going without a divorce attorney can be risky. There’s a lot going on that you won’t even find out about until you’re already involved in the process. Divorce involves paperwork, forms, and bureaucracy on a scale you’ve probably never dreamed of, especially if debt, property, or children are involved. Messing up the paperwork can cost you big later on down the line, and you may find out that you’ve lost a lot when it’s too late to do anything about it.
- Things can change in a New York minute. Everything may seem peaceful now, but as the divorce proceeds, things can get very tense, very quick. That’s when it pays to have a divorce lawyer on your side. As you go along, you and your spouse will have to agree on a hundred little things, and each one is an opportunity for hurt feelings and arguments. Each issue must be set down in writing in a form that courts will accept, approved by the judge, and then finalized. By the time all this is done, what was once amicable can turn deeply rancorous.
- A divorce attorney is not trying to ruin your life. Divorce attorneys get a bad rap, and in reality they probably shouldn’t. They’re intimately involved in a process that is destructive to lives, futures, and families: and that’s not their fault. What they bring to the table is expertise. Expertise in the law and the whole divorce court system. They know what gets cases done, and they know what judges will demand. In fact, they often know when a couple could probably get back together if they just put a little work into it. Most of all, they know what they’re doing. Unless you’ve gone through a few divorces before, you probably don’t.
- Certain situations demand a divorce attorney. There are times when having a divorce attorney on your side is just a no-brainer. If you have minor children and you want to make sure you stay a part of their lives, you must have a law firm to help you. The same holds true if you jointly own significant real estate or retirement accounts in both your names. Pensions make things very tricky, as do divisions of 401(k) accounts. Of alimony is part of the deal, you absolutely need a divorce attorney, whether you’re the one entitled to support or the one trying to minimize the damage to your paycheck.
No one wants to spend money on an unncessary expense, and a divorce attorney might seem like an unnecessary expense. Before you proceed without one, though, be 100% positive that you know exactly what you’re getting into.