There’s a popular saying that the person who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client. As a general rule, even lawyers facing legal trouble will have someone else represent them.
Although it is possible for some people to navigate the process of dissolving their marriage or securing a divorce without their own attorney, handling a major legal matter on your own puts you at a significant disadvantage. There are a number of ways in which representing yourself in a pending divorce could prove to be a disastrous decision.
Your ex may have their own representation
You may think that if you choose not to use an attorney that you and your ex may be able to complete a more amicable divorce. However, there is nothing stopping your spouse from getting an attorney just because you don’t have one.
When there is a discrepancy in representation in a legal matter, it is often the person who has professional support who secures the better outcome. If you don’t have your own attorney helping you strategize and respond to your ex in court, you could very well wind up railroaded and dealing with an unfavorable outcome.
Your expectations could lead to unnecessary expenses
Lawyers understand state law and legal precedent. Their knowledge and experience give them a good idea of how the courts will handle divorce proceedings. They can help you be more practical as you develop your strategy and more realistic in the expectations that you hold for the outcome of the process.
For example, if you try to push for sole custody without any proof that your ex poses some sort of threat to your children, the only result might be more protracted and expensive court proceedings, rather than the custody outcome you hoped for. An attorney’s advice could help you avoid wasted time and money in court.
You could make mistakes in court and on paperwork that come back to haunt you
Although the paperwork associated with filing for divorce may seem straightforward on the surface, the way that you fill them out, the timeline of your filing and the language that you use can all have a significant impact on how successful your divorce is.
The wrong language or the wrong timing could mean losing out on some of your statutory rights or setting yourself up for more complications later on. Having your own legal representation will not only help you avoid mistakes but will also provide you with support and guidance during a complex and emotional process.