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Ten Reasons that You Need to Hire an Attorney for Your Divorce

Posted by Corrie Sirkin | May 05, 2020 | 0 Comments

  1. You and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting time plan or do not have a parenting time plan from the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The Court will focus on the best interests of the children based on specific factors. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title20/chapter6.1/section20-124.3Family law attorneys can provide you with a dispassionate evaluation of your custody and parenting time case. They will review your evidence and provide guidance regarding what the court will likely decide. Attorneys can also help you think about options that you may not have considered to come up with a plan that is as unique as your children and your family.

  2. You or your spouse own real estate. For many people, real estate is their most valuable asset. Even if the title to the property is not in your name, you may be entitled to equitable distribution of property acquired during the marriage or from marital assets. If there is real estate; then, you need an attorney to help you negotiate and navigate equitable distribution of equity in the property, transfer of ownership, or the sale of the real estate.

  3. You or your spouse has a pension or retirement plan. If either you or your spouse have a pension or retirement plan that needs to be equitably distributed; then, you need an attorney to help you navigate percentages, survivor benefits, and other specifics. Moreover, many of these plans require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, Domestic Relations Order, Retirement Benefits Court Order, or Court Order Acceptable for Processing.  The Orders are very specific and need to include very precise language which an attorney would need to draft.

  4. You or your spouse own a business. The finances of businesses are very intricate. Businesses can be used to hide assets and income. Businesses can be over or undervalued.  Are the employees of the business receiving a fair market compensation?  What is the financial picture of the business? If there is a business in your divorce; then, you should retain an attorney.

  5. You or your spouse have significant assets, stocks, bonds, etc. Many assets are not as valuable as they look on paper because of tax, capital gains, or cost of living implications. The $100,000 in equity in your home is not equal to the $100,000 in pension value with cost of living increases or the $100,000 in stock with capital gains costs. You need an attorney or financial planner to explain why and guide you through making decisions.

  6. You are not aware of the income, assets, tax liability, or debts of the other party. If you are not fully informed of the income, assets, tax liability, and/or debts of the other party; then, you need an attorney to assist you with the discovery process where attorneys obtain proof of the other parties' financial situation. An attorney can assess costs and benefits of different courses of actions including subpoenas and depositions.

  7. You need spousal support, or your spouse will request spousal support. The length and amount of spousal support is the often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. Length and amounts can vary widely between cases as there are thirteen factors in Virginia. https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title20/chapter6/section20-107.1/ A knowledgeable divorce attorney can guide you through this difficult area of the law to inform you regarding what judges in your jurisdiction may decide.

  8. You will be required to file all legal paperwork, follow the law and legal procedure. Local attorneys are familiar with the paperwork and procedures needed for your county or city. If you do not have a lawyer, your evidence and testimony may not be allowed by the court if you do not follow these procedures. Your attorney understands the law and will guide you through the process. Your attorney will advise you regarding what factors the judges and the law consider important in deciding your case. Discovery paperwork is very specific and includes interrogatories which are questions that are answered under oath as well as requests for production of documents which require you to provide certain paperwork.

  9. Emotions are intense during divorce. Coping with a divorce can be intensely painful. Almost every person would benefit from therapy during their divorce. Separation and divorce are major life stressors that are experienced differently by different people. Many people experience feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, grieving, reflecting, reconstruction, and acceptance. These feelings are not felt in a certain pattern or one feeling at a time. An attorney can help you focus on the factors that the Court recognizes rather than the current situation or the emotional effect of years of behavior between spouses. Even as a family law lawyer, I recognized that I needed a lawyer for my own divorce. Objective advice is crucial to making dispassionate informed decisions.

  10. If you do not do it right the first time, there may be no second chance or the remedy may be far more costly than hiring an attorney in the first place. If you waive an important right including spousal support, equitable distribution, discovery, or similar, there may be no second chance to fix the error or change your waiver of your rights. Additionally, if you fail to protect custody and parenting time rights; then, it can cost much more to fix these situations than if you requested shared custody and parenting time in the first time.

About the Author

Corrie Sirkin

Corrie Sirkin is a conscientious, energetic, smart and capable attorney. Corrie Sirkin has practiced family law exclusively throughout her career. She provides experienced services in areas of family law which include divorce, child custody, visitation, paternity, child support, equitable distrib...

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