“I don’t need an attorney for this divorce. We agree on everything so it’s easy, right?” Wrong! This is one of the most important transactions in your life. Why would you risk proceeding without legal counsel? While spending money on a lawyer is the last thing most people would like to do (perhaps maybe we beat out the dentist?), it is a necessary evil in the course of getting a divorce. We have all seen the signs for the $399 divorce, but it is a lie.
I recently finished litigating a case for a client who had done the “quickie” divorce a few years back. That quickie divorce ended up costing him $50,000 in additional property distribution for a house he thought he was keeping “free and clear,” and almost as much in legal fees because things were left out of the original paperwork. A few thousand dollars at the time could have saved many thousands after the fact.
“But if you mediate, you don’t need to be represented right?” Wrong! A mediator’s job is to bring the parties to a resolution that they both consider fair. It is not the mediator’s job to advise you on what is fair and what is not. Your ability to negotiate adequately comes from a position of knowledge, and you can not possibly have the knowledge of what you are entitled to and what is fair, without competent advice from someone who knows the law.
“But I can get a lot of information off of the internet, so I know what I’m entitled to.” Perhaps, but in the more than 23 years I have been practicing Family Law, I have yet to see two cases that are exactly the same. Your circumstances are unique, no matter how “ordinary” you think they may be.
Make the investment in your future security. This divorce agreement will control the rest of your life. A few hundred dollars for a consultation, or a few thousand dollars for sound legal advice is an investment, not an expense. There are lawyers at all price points and experience levels, find one that suits your situation and take the time to make sure things are done fully and correctly.