People ask me this question all the time: “Do I need a lawyer for my divorce?” The answer is almost always: “Yes!” Just like it is an excellent idea to see a doctor when you have a medical issue, it is an excellent idea to see a lawyer when you have a legal issue.
But why do you need a lawyer? The answer to this simple question is not so simple, but I have two main, big picture reasons why you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you in your divorce case:
First, divorce is a complicated area of law. Divorce involves the parent-child relationship, which includes the areas of conservatorship (a/k/a custody), possession and access, child support, medical support, and child protection. Each of those areas involves numerous, complex legal issues depending on the circumstances of your case. Divorce also involves property law, which includes identifying property, characterizing property, valuing property, and dividing property. Texas is a community property state, but if some of your property meets certain criteria, it may be your separate property, which could affect the overall division of property. Most people have several different kinds of property, including cash, financial accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, mineral rights, rental property, businesses, life insurance, and personal property (also known as “stuff”). Each type of property involves unique legal issues. Finally, if your divorce case requires contested court appearances, then you must also deal with the Judge, the court’s staff, the court’s rules, the rules of procedure and evidence, and other Texas laws that affect your divorce case. Lawyers are trained to handle these issues. If you represent yourself in your divorce case, and you appear in Court, the Judge will expect you to know the different rules and procedures for practicing in his or her Court.
Second, and more importantly, divorce is a stressful life event. It is very difficult to make rational, objective decisions about an area of your life that is often full of emotions, hard feelings, sadness, and hurt. A good family law attorney will help guide you through the difficult process of a divorce by helping you solve the problem instead of making problems worse by arguing and creating an expensive lawsuit. Advocacy is certainly important, and you should expect an attorney to zealously represent you, but that doesn’t mean that an attorney should pick a fight with your spouse’s attorney at every opportunity. A good attorney will help you to identify your interests and goals, and to help you accomplish those goals in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible.
If you are getting divorced in Denton County, you should strongly consider hiring a Denton County family lawyer to represent you.
Lewis, Passons & Darnell, P.C.