1. Confusion– An attorney can explain the process.  The rules are complicated.   The terminology is confusing. There are many words which are particular to divorce (i.e.: pendente lite, ore genus, PSA and QDRO) which an attorney will clarify. Each complaint requires additional paperwork to be filed and filing fees. All divorce decrees require certain language. All child custody and child support awards also require certain statutory language. If you don’t properly process your divorce, it may be delayed, your rights may not be protected or you may have an expensive battle post-judgment.
  2. Reassurance– Your attorney can assuage your worries and provide you advice, information and peace of mind. Your attorney will evaluate your case and guide you step-by-step. The lawyer will also provide you with emotional support during this difficult and trying time.
  3. Communication– Your attorney can help you to communicate with your spouse (or not communicate with your spouse). Your attorney will help you decide whether the situation is one you should address or simply let it go.  Your attorney will also communicate with the other attorney, any experts, any guardian ad litem and the judge on your behalf.
  4. Intimidation– The process can be intimidating. Judges, your spouse’s attorney and even mediators can be intimidating. It may seem like you are being judged. An experienced lawyer knows the process, will fight for you and do most of the talking.
  5. Scheduling– A lawyer can help you expedite the process. The lawyer will remind you of deadlines, schedule court dates or mediation, coordinate paperwork and coordinate with the court.
  6. Investigation– Your attorney will investigate your questions and concerns.  If you think that your spouse may be committing adultery, hiding assets, minimizing financial information; then, your lawyer can help you navigate the discovery process including interrogatories, requests to produce, subpoenas and depositions.  Your attorney will help you to evaluate whether you need to hire forensic accountants, private investigators, psychologists or other professionals.
  7. Specialization– Lawyers who specialize in family law have experience with many different families and situations. They will be able to help you think of options and alternatives that a judge may not order.
  8. Localization– Even though judges and courts may seem similar, they are often very different. Different courts may have different procedures for everything from filing to scheduling to mediation. Lawyers who know the local court and judges will be better able to manage your case.
  9. Evaluation– An attorney can help you protect your rights and evaluate your particular situation. An attorney can help you assess whether property is marital, whether inheritance is separate or has been commingled, whether property is a gift, whether money is a loan and numerous other questions.
  10. Future– Effective separation, marital settlement and custody agreements not only address current situations, but they consider and provide for future changes. What happens if one party doesn’t comply with the agreement? What happens if the financial circumstances change? Is spousal support modifiable or non-modifiable? What happens if you need to move? How do you revise your agreement if both parties agree to change the terms?