Many divorcing couples aren’t able to resolve their divorces without the assistance of professionals. Sometimes one hires an attorney to represent one of them in the negotiations with the other party; sometimes they each opt to retain counsel to negotiate a resolution for them. How do you know if this is the right divorce process for you?
- Are you uncomfortable with the idea of not having professional help during such a life-altering and stressful decision-making time?
Divorce is a scary and stressful process. Many people feel that it is something that they can’t handle without professional support. If you become overwhelmed and anxious easily, your divorce may not be something that you should handle without help.
- Are you concerned that you don’t fully understand your legal rights?
Because it is so difficult to change a final judgment of divorce once the court enters it, it is vital that you understand all of your legal rights and obligations before you enter into any settlement agreement. If you do not fully understand your rights, it is important that you hire an attorney to counsel you.
- Are you concerned that the expense of retaining an attorney to fully represent you will be more than you can handle?
If you are looking for a divorce process option that makes sense financially, this option may be the best one for you. While seeking full representation can be quite costly and require expensive upfront retainers, the services of many attorneys can be retained on a “pay as you go” basis for limited representation. Many attorneys are available just to negotiate your divorce for you. They will likely also draft the paperwork or review it once it has been drafted by your spouse’s counsel. This is a cost-saving option for the couple who is not comfortable without representation but who does not need full representation.
- Do you trust that your spouse can be transparent?
If you are hiring attorneys only to negotiate for you, they will not be spending time chasing after your spouse’s information and documents. If you feel that your spouse will be less than forthcoming, you may need to choose a different divorce process option.
- Do you and your spouse have the ability to be fair and reasonable?
As with any negotiation process, you will not be successful if either you or your spouse refuses to be fair. If you and your spouse just want an equitable resolution and can see things from the other’s perspective, then this option is a good one for you. But if one of you just wants to “win,” to have his day in court, or to seek revenge, then you should choose a different divorce process option.
When choosing your divorce process, it is important that you understand all the options that are available to you. Could having attorneys negotiate for you be your best option?
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About this week’s author Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.