There are many moving pieces to divorce in Bucks and Montgomery Counties here in PA, and if they’re not addressed correctly and coherently you can end up caught in a legal, financial, and emotional mess. The more complex your finances and wealth, and if you have children, the more you need a lawyer to represent your interests in a divorce. It’s a legal proceeding that will affect you and your children for the rest of your lives.
Not every legal matter requires legal representation, but you should at least consult with an attorney before you move forward. If you and your spouse have low incomes and have little or no property, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania may help you through the process. Another option, if the two of you are on good terms, may be a collaborative divorce in which you work with (and need only pay) one attorney to finalize the divorce.
You Don’t Want to Learn About Divorce While Working on Your Own Case
If this doesn’t describe you and your family, an attorney should represent you in a divorce. We will protect your rights, ensure you take full advantage of them, and get the best outcome possible. Given your financial well-being, your relationship with your children, and your future are at stake, paying for an attorney is a worthwhile investment.
Chances are excellent that unless you are a divorce attorney, you lack the knowledge, experience, and skills to make the best of your divorce and put yourself in a good position to start your new life.
You hire specialists for other areas of your life without much thought. You probably don’t fix your car or make major repairs on your home. You may pay someone else to prepare your taxes. You’re smart enough to understand that there are complex things you don’t understand well enough to handle yourself, so it’s better to hire someone to tackle them for you.
Where Lack of Legal Representation Can Cause You Severe Problems
Here are some of the issues that could cause serious harm if you represent yourself and make mistakes:
- Dividing assets and debts: A critical part of the divorce process is identifying which assets and debts are marital and subject to division, then dividing them equitably. You may have property you owned before your marriage or inherited during it that shouldn’t be shared with your spouse. Your spouse may also be responsible for debts you are not obligated to help repay. Going it alone could result in handing over your assets and putting yourself on the hook for debts that aren’t yours.
- Spousal support and alimony: You or your spouse may or may not be entitled to alimony or spousal support. If you are entitled to it but don’t assert your rights, you could miss a substantial amount of money. If your spouse wants support without a legal right to it or seeks more than they legally deserve, you may unnecessarily transfer a big chunk of your income to your ex in the future.
- Child custody and support: Your spouse may not be fit to make crucial decisions for your child, but without legal representation, they may be awarded custody. Your spouse may also demand more child support than what’s justified under the law.
This situation worsens if your spouse has an attorney, but you don’t. This is not an even playing field because you are at a severe disadvantage. If you can’t agree to a settlement, will you represent yourself at a trial?
Speak to a Divorce Attorney You Can Trust
If you have any questions about divorce or think it may be in your future, don’t make any decisions until you talk to us. Contact Karen A. Ulmer, P.C., to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your situation, how the law may apply, and how we can help.