Should I Hire a Colorado Family Law Attorney to Handle My Divorce?
Most couples who file for divorce and/ or legal separation in the State of Colorado find that the dissolution of marriage process is complicated and confusing. There are important decisions to be made that will affect the rest of your lives, and many people are highly emotional at this time. So even though not everyone will require the services of a divorce lawyer, it is important to consider the wisdom of having an experienced legal professional on your side during a time when you are not thinking clearly.
The legal matters you will address may include:
· Divorce vs. Legal Separation
· The Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Custody)
· Equitable Division of Assets and Debt (Property Division)
· Maintenance (Spousal Support/ Alimony)
· Marital Agreements (Prenuptial or Post Nuptial Agreements)
The most important reasons to hire a divorce attorney to represent you are:
1) Your Family Law Attorney is Prepared to Represent You in the Courtroom
The Colorado family law judge will hold you, as a self-represented litigant, to the same standards as opposing counsel. So, it is important that you are familiar with the required forms and documents, and are adequately prepared to handle the divorce process and opposing counsel in the court room.
2) Your Colorado Family Law Attorney Has Experience.
Most people are extremely emotional during the divorce process and see the wisdom in being represented by an attorney. When you are feeling sad, mad and scared, choosing a lawyer to be at your side to offer you sound legal advice, objectivity, guidance and support is a prudent choice. Throughout the divorce process, your lawyer can remind you to stay focused on the resolution and to take care of yourself and your kids. Your lawyer can even recommend other professionals to assist you and your children during this challenging time. An experienced domestic relations attorney will also help you stay positive, reasonable, and keep you and your case on track for achieving the best possible outcome.
3) Your Lawyer is Prepared to Negotiate, Collaborate, or Take Your Case to Trial
A good domestic relations attorney will thoroughly evaluate your legal matter, prioritize your goals, and discuss likely outcomes with you. Your attorney will also have experience with the judges from your county and with family law cases that are similar to yours. Your lawyer can help you to create a reasonable settlement proposal, a counter-proposal or a sound litigation strategy.
While it is possible for you and your soon-to-be former spouse to work together to craft the terms of an amicable agreement on your own by filing for an "uncontested" divorce, it is important to know that filing on your own works best for couples with:
1. Short marriages
2. Few assets to divide
3. No children or custody issues to be addressed
4. No requests for spousal support. (Spousal Support/ Alimony)
5. No marital agreement
Mitigating Your Risks:
But there are always risks when attempting to handle legal matters on your own, and it is especially important to be represented by an experienced attorney if you have had:
1. A long marriage
2. Have significant assets and/or debt
3. Have minor children and custody issues must be addressed
4. One of the parties is asking for maintenance (Spousal Support/ Alimony)
5. Have a marital agreement
It is important to remember that the dissolution of marriage process can be complex, and you will be making important decisions that will affect the rest of your life. While not every couple will require the services of a domestic relations lawyer, you should consider the wisdom of having the professional support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney who will be on your side during this challenging time.