Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer if We Agree on Everything?

Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC. – Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

Yes, we believe you still need an experienced divorce lawyer even if you file for a mutual uncontested divorce. The Philadelphia divorce attorneys at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman have protected the rights of spouses seeking mutual uncontested divorces for over 40 years. Retaining legal representation can ensure your divorce case is properly executed.

This article explains why it’s important to find a divorce lawyer even if you and your spouse agree on everything.

Divorcing Spouses Should Still Hire Divorce Lawyers

In addition to being emotionally painful, divorcing your spouse is a legally complex process. Issues such as property division, alimony, and child support involve several legal and factual determinations. These issues can cause a mutual uncontested divorce to devolve into a bitter battle.

Your Divorce Attorney Looks Out for Your Best Interests

While you and your spouse may agree on all issues outside the court, you may unwittingly act against your interests. It may be tempting to agree or concede to your spouse’s demands to expedite your divorce to start the next chapter of your life. A divorce attorney can protect your interests by providing legal advice regarding your options and rights during this stressful period.

Why You Should Still Hire a Divorce Lawyer

A common mistake people make is attempting to navigate the divorce process without legal counsel. A divorce lawyer can provide legal advice through all stages of your divorce. Specifically, an attorney assists you with addressing all the issues of your divorce, preparing documents such as pleadings, and providing legal advice regarding a marital settlement agreement. Further, the procedural rules which must be followed are complicated. Certainly it is possible for a person to move through this procedural process without counsel. However, it generally proves overwhelming and frustrating for most non-lawyers to navigate.

Potentially Missing Details

According to section 3502 of the Divorce code, Pennsylvania uses 13 factors to distribute marital property equitably. While spouses focus on dividing marital property, i.e., property acquired during the marriage, they sometimes fail to identify and divide debt. A divorce attorney can ensure marital debts are properly identified and apportioned during a divorce.

An Attorney Helps Draft Your Agreement

A marital settlement agreement is a document which covers issues in a divorce and can be either a written contract between you and your spouse and is incorporated into your divorce decree. A divorce attorney can ensure your agreement and all divorce paperwork is properly and fairly drafted, and meets the procedural requirements to be properly included in your Divorce Decree.

Legal Advice Can Stop an Unfair Agreement

Without legal counsel, you may potentially enter into an unfair divorce settlement agreement in which you waive or limit your right to alimony or your claim to marital property. A family law attorney can provide legal advice to help you avoid these problems.

Complications Concerning Property

A common complication affecting property division is properly classifying assets as marital or non-marital. Under Pennsylvania’s divorce laws, only marital property is equitably divided. In addition to disputes on how to classify real property, assets such as retirement accounts or your spouse’s business may be classified as marital property, and may need to be valued by an outside economic expert. An experienced divorce attorney helps guide you through the entire complicated legal process, ensuring your agreement doesn’t exclude or divide property unfairly.

When You Might Not Need an Attorney

You may not need an divorce lawyer if you and your spouse elect mediation instead of formal litigation. Mediation is a non-confrontational process in which you and your spouse hire a mediator who guides you and your spouse through the process of reaching an amicable divorce agreement. Additionally, you may not need an attorney if you and your spouse are pursuing a mutual uncontested divorce following a short marriage and if you and your spouse share no assets.

Talk with an Experienced Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney

A seemingly simple divorce can easily turn into a stressful and contentious affair. The divorce attorneys at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman can successfully guide you through this process. To learn more about our services, contact us today!

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