Going through a divorce is never easy or fun. About the best one can hope for is that things go relatively smoothly, and the parties remain on an amicable basis. But when things start to go sour in divorce proceedings, and they often do, making sure that you have hired the right legal counsel is one of the most important steps you can take.
You should almost always hire a divorce attorney in Long Island
There are some extremely limited circumstances where it may not be detrimental to go without hiring an attorney for your divorce proceedings. These typically occur when you and your spouse are on good terms, where there are not significant assets in dispute and where there are no children involved. If you and your spouse are generally on the same page about how you want the divorce to proceed, both of you are reasonable and there are no disputes about who is going to get what, then it may be ok to show up in court without a lawyer.
However, the hard fact is that most divorces do not meet these criteria. Even small disagreements about matrimonial property can quickly turn into negotiation impasses. And these disputes can quickly intensify, leading to complete stalemates and putting the parties at the mercy of the deciding judge. It’s important to understand that once a court has rendered a judgment in a divorce proceeding, it’s almost impossible to modify. You will be bound by whatever the court decides forever.
When not hiring an attorney is a grave mistake
If there are custody issues, significant property at stake, any form of domestic violence, including psychological violence or any form of animosity between the parties that may result in difficult negotiations, then a lawyer should absolutely be retained without question. Similarly, if the contesting party in a divorce has hired an attorney and you have not, by not hiring an attorney, you are automatically putting yourself at a serious disadvantage in court and can expect to see an unfavorable outcome to you.
Furthermore, any men going through a divorce should always be aware that the cards are, in fact, stacked against them in divorce court. This means that it is always a good idea for men to hire an attorney even if they are planning on carrying out their divorce proceedings through a collaborative divorce process.
Collaborative divorce can make sense in certain circumstances
When the parties are both reasonable and are on the same page about the goals for divorce, using a collaborative divorce process can be superior to going to court. Collaborative divorce processes can be less adversarial, and they allow the parties to work out the details of how property will be divided, what the custodial arrangements regarding any children will be and what kind of post-divorce alimony payments may be required.
Collaborative divorce has the major advantage of putting the outcome of the process back into the hands of the participants. This eliminates the risks involved for both sides when presenting an adversarial case in front of a family court judge, who may render highly unfavorable verdicts to one side or the other. As stated, once a divorce proceeding is finalized, it may be close to impossible to undo. And divorce judgments represent legally binding obligations that may be in effect for decades.
The collaborative divorce process always requires the hiring, on both sides, of a competent attorney.