You might feel tempted to represent yourself during your divorce. You may think you can handle negotiating and spotting a good deal because you work in business. You might want to save money by not paying for legal services.
However, self-representing in court is a huge risk because it is your duty to learn the law and understand what you are negotiating and agreeing to. Working with an attorney will help you avoid doing irreparable harm to your family law case.
1. You need to follow the strict court procedures.
Lawsuits have timing requirements. As soon as you get the complaint, you have a short period of time to file a response. If you do not meet this time limit, your spouse can proceed with an unopposed case and file a default against you.
Courts require the filing of specific paperwork and even if you do file your answer in time, the judge might reject your improperly prepared documents.
2. Reaching a fair divorce settlement is quite difficult.
If you are pro se and you come to a divorce settlement, you may think that the terms are fair. The agreement may seem fine at the time, but end up being less favorable than you thought. The court will generally uphold the divorce settlements, so enlisting an attorney to help you spot potential issues and understand all parts of the legal process is crucial.
3. The court holds you to the same standards as an attorney.
Prepping for a trial and arguing a case takes a lot of knowledge and skill. Tasks that attorneys studied extensively to learn. The court will not help you during the trial. If you waste valuable time because you do not understand the law, the court will lose patience.
Overall, even though you do not technically need to hire an attorney to represent you, legal representation ensures protection of your interests.