Coming to terms with the fact that you are getting a divorce is usually an emotional journey and difficult for everyone involved. This may be the case even if you find yourself in a situation where you and your soon to be “ex” are in complete agreement as to how you should separate the life you have created together. In other words, you may find yourself in an amicable divorce situation.
With both you and your spouse agreeing to proceed, you may be thinking that hiring an attorney is unnecessary. Moreover, you may question why you should spend the extra money on a divorce attorney. Hiring a divorce attorney for an uncontested divorce is important as it will help make the transition from married to divorced smoother and less painful.
- Navigating the Legal System
First, navigating the legal system can be challenging. Each county and jurisdiction has different local rules and procedures pertaining to divorce. While various websites and the courts may provide some guidance, it is often difficult and time consuming to figure out the many aspects of the divorce process. Specifically, you may become frustrated in deciphering which paperwork is required for your particular situation. Then you will need to figure out how to initiate a divorce proceeding with the court and make sure that you have satisfied all of the requirements of the local rules and adhered to all of California’s laws in order to obtain a finalized divorce decree.
Furthermore, you should keep in mind, that even if you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your divorce, the same procedural requirements and initial paperwork are required for filing an uncontested divorce as for a contested divorce. Additionally, the information obtained through court websites or other resources can be outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete, which ultimately could leave you in a bind or unable to proceed with your case. Any mistakes within the paperwork or the process could lead to additional fees or time delays. Having a divorce attorney who is experienced and familiar with the local rules and laws can help you navigate the system and allow your case to run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
- Protecting Yourself for the Future
While you and your spouse may be in agreement as to how you wish to divide your property, child custody arrangements and financial support issues, having an attorney review the terms of your agreement is important to ensure that your rights in the future will be protected. A third person, who is not emotionally connected, will be able to review your agreement and make sure that you are receiving what you are entitled to under the law. Often people may not be aware of or know exactly what the California divorce laws provide. The unknown can sometimes lead to forfeiting money or property that you would have otherwise received. Speaking with an attorney will prevent this type of situation from occurring. Your attorney will be able to inform you of your rights under the laws of California and then advise you as to whether the terms you have reached with your spouse are in your best interests. Furthermore, divorces often start out amicable between the two spouses, and then the negotiation process may unexpectedly turn sour. Having an attorney in place will help ensure that you will be prepared in the event that any problems do arise.
If you and your spouse have come to an agreement on the parenting of your children, it will be beneficial to have an attorney review your agreement. An attorney will be able to make sure that you have covered issues or bases that maybe you and your spouse had not considered. This may include a wide range of parenting issues from the amount of time your children spend with each parent, to parenting concerns regarding discipline, schooling and religion. Your attorney will then ensure that all of the terms are outlined in your written agreement, which can ultimately minimize future disagreements.
- Tying up Loose Ends
In addition to navigating the court process, a number of forms and procedures exist that need to be completed in order to finalize a divorce. Although you may have come to terms with how your property is going to be divided, some guidance in how to achieve this end result may be helpful. For example, dividing the assets between both spouses can be challenging. You may need to hire professionals to conduct real estate appraisals, or financial evaluations of businesses, and your attorney will be able to connect you with other professionals or assist you in doing this. Additionally, in some situations when retirement accounts are to be divided between spouses, a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” is required. This is a special court order which requires the workplace benefits to be split. Again, an attorney can help you make sure that the necessary paperwork is in place for this to occur.
- Peace of Mind
Finally, and maybe the most important reason of all to have an attorney handle your uncontested divorce case is simply for your peace of mind. A divorce is a stressful and difficult time. You will likely have questions along the way and need advice from a professional who knows the ins and outs of the process as a whole. Although a divorce attorney is not a therapist, he or she understands how difficult the process is and can help ease the burden for their clients. While hiring an attorney may seem like an aggressive move when you and spouse are in agreement, in the end it may allow for a smoother and more amicable divorce proceeding.