As family law attorneys, we know that most people don’t dream of the day when they get to consider hiring a divorce lawyer (although some are certainly more eager than others). When people think of hiring a lawyer, they think of the expense, of having a stranger potentially learn about financial and emotional details in their lives, and the possibility that hiring an attorney might make their partner upset or feel antagonized. Many people also think that family law attorneys are only for divorces where the divorcing spouses at are each other’s throats and trying to make each other miserable. So it is quite common for people approaching divorce to wonder if they can skip over the unknown aspects and expense of an attorney if they are in a position where they “agree on everything” and want to part amicably. Courts certainly allow people to represent themselves in divorce proceedings – in the same way they allow some criminals facing the death penalty who insist on representing themselves to do so – but forgoing a lawyer in your divorce does not come without some huge risks.
Do You Understand the “Everything” You Believe You Are Agreeing To?
Divorce is based on state law, and every state’s laws are different. The vast majority of non-lawyers (and even many who are lawyers) do not know the specifics of how their state’s laws affect their rights to division of property, ongoing spousal support (alimony), child support, visitation, and child custody, much less how the courts and law continue to impact each ex-spouse and their children for years after the divorce.
Thus, agreeing to “everything” before you know what your rights are under state law as they apply to your specific situation is not only unwise, but it can haunt you financially and emotionally for years. Furthermore, while online research can point you in the right direction, it cannot take the place of an attorney in your jurisdiction who will tell you exactly how courts might view your situation and what your rights are.
Court Procedures and Bureaucracy Are Often Quite Confusing
Some couples are not so worried about matters like division of property, spousal support, and child support/custody issues, because they do not have children and their assets are limited. Even if that is truly the case, many state courts are confusing and not user-friendly to people trying to navigate them on their own. You might drive across town and wait in line for an hour with your filing only to find that you failed to get a signature or make enough copies. Or you might show up to a hearing you have waited months for to find that your filing was incomplete and you have to wait several more months for another hearing.
Thus, even where both parties are in complete agreement, having an experienced attorney providing counsel and guidance on navigating the bureaucracy can be invaluable.
Divorce Has a Funny Way of Causing “Agreements” to Evaporate
Wanting to reach an amicable resolution to your divorce is not only admirable, but it is also advisable as it will cut down on expenses, delay, and ongoing emotional drama. But – as the two points above describe – trying to do that without each party understanding their rights and while facing bureaucratic delay and confusion can easily make that “agreement” you thought you had evaporate into thin air.
There are few things worse in a divorce than one spouse keeping up his or her obligations on an unenforceable non-court-approved agreement for months and even years only to have the other one pull the rug out from underneath them. Judges generally only honor divorce agreements they themselves have signed off on.
Consider an Uncontested Divorce Package
If you want to save money, do have a general agreement on the issues of your divorce, but want the limited guidance of an attorney to help you obtain a divorce, consider an uncontested divorce package. When you work with our experienced Virginia family law attorneys through our $375 uncontested divorce package, you will communicate with our attorneys via email regarding any questions you have regarding the divorce process and necessary documents. We will draft all legal documents and file the appropriate documents with the court (you are responsible for the filing fees of $86-$91 as well as a $41 fee to change your name, if so desired).
After filing, our team will forward the necessary documents to you and your spouse for review and signature, which will include affidavits signed by you and a witness to corroborate the assertions in the divorce documents. We will then send the final divorce decree to the court, with all the supporting documents, and the court will enter the divorce decree.
If you have additional questions, concerns, or issues that need to be addressed, we can work with you to handle those at an additional charge. If you would like to get started on the uncontested divorce process, please complete our intake form.
Schedule a Consultation With a Virginia Family Law Attorney Today
At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC in Fredericksburg, we will guide through all of your questions regarding all aspects of divorce and help you work towards a favorable outcome in your family law matter. To schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia family law attorneys, contact Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC at 540.642.1766.