6 Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney

Thinking of representing yourself in a Chicago divorce or custody case? Divorce and Custody (or Parentage cases) are some of the areas of law where people often feel that they can adequately represent themselves and that they may not need an attorney. Family Courts will provide “do it yourself” or “uncontested” divorce packets which make it seem simple. You just complete the paperwork, submit it, go to Court and then you will be divorced! Simple enough, right?

In reality, however, it is not so simple. There are many pitfalls when you try to “go at it alone” in a Chicago divorce or custody case. Being aware of those pitfalls may convince you that retaining an attorney is necessary. Knowledge is key to making the decision that is best for you.

Here are some reasons why hiring a divorce attorney is essential to your case:

1. You will be held to the same standard of knowledge as an Attorney.

Being your own attorney truly becomes a full-time job, especially if you plan to do so thoroughly. However, the daunting task of figuring out how the legal system works, and doing the research required to adequately represent yourself is likely not going to be up to par with the quality an attorney would be able to provide.

2. Your Spouse or Ex may hire an attorney.

3. The “forms” provided by Courts for “do it yourself” or “pro se” divorces are not all-encompassing for every situation.

For example, on one of these forms, you could award your spouse the 2010 Nissan Armada. What if the car is titled in your name? How long does the party have to re-finance the vehicle? How do you effectuate all of these things? On one of the simple forms generated by the court for simplistic divorces, these issues are not covered.

The same goes for dividing a retirement account. If the retirement plan requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or a QILDRO, these forms usually don’t give that information or instructions on how to do that. Many parties are surprised to find they were awarded half their spouse’s pension, and then, when their spouse retires, they don’t receive anything from the retirement account. That is because the simple divorce forms are not all-encompassing and do not deal with the more advanced issues relative to property division like diving a retirement account. In these scenarios, it is best to have an attorney to ensure every element of your divorce is done correctly.

4. Things do not always mean what you think they mean in legal documents.

5. Post-Decree Litigation may be much messier when the initial divorce was completed Pro Se.

“Spouse 1 claims the minor children on their taxes in Even years.”

Does “even years” refer to the tax year on the form you are filing, which is actually filed in odd years? Or does that mean the actual even tax year in which the documents are filed? This sentence could be subject to more than one interpretation.

Another mistake commonly made is that the holidays will be divided, but with no exchange times or locations, and no details about who is doing the transportation. So, for example, Spouse 2 has Christmas Day in odd years. There is no time or location. Don’t be surprised when Spouse 2 shows up at midnight on December 25th to pick up the children as a result of this — to be clear, we don’t recommend doing this, but it happens!

6. Objective legal advice can be extremely helpful when dealing with a deeply personal scenario.

If you are thinking about representing yourself in a Chicago divorce or family law dispute, consider seeking advice from an experienced divorce attorney before making a final decision. Your future may depend on it. For a free consultation with the Chicago family law attorneys at Anderson & Boback, schedule a meeting today!

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/divorce/six-benefits-of-hiring-a-divorce-attorney/

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