This is a guest blog by Katie Lammers, a family law attorney at Heimerl & Lammers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Katie has handled hundreds of family law cases throughout her legal career and she relishes the opportunity to fight for her clients’ rights.
Every divorce is different. Some divorces can be quick and painless, while others are longer than both parties anticipated. No matter how the divorce plays out, saving money is usually a priority for the separating couple. Sometimes clients believe they can save money by neglecting to hire an attorney because both parties have agreed how divide the assets and debts in their divorce. While reaching an agreement with your spouse may help speed up the divorce, it is still important to consider hiring an attorney to assist you in the process. Below, we’ll explain five reasons why it’s important to hire an attorney during your “quickie divorce.”
Paperwork Can Cause Delays
One of the main reasons people opt for a quickie divorce is because they want to move on with their life as soon as possible. By hiring a lawyer, you’ll save yourself the time of filling out the legal paperwork, and you’ll ensure that you won’t miss an important filing or deadline. Your attorney will be able to ease your mind when it comes to the legal side of the divorce, and they’ll make sure everything is drafted and filed correctly. If you miss a deadline, you could end up tacking on days, weeks or even months to your marriage. You also may have to take a day off of work in order to make a rescheduled court appearance if you forget to file a document.
The majority of couples seeking a divorce are doing so for the first time. Because of this, most people don’t know how the legalities of divorce will impact them down the road. An attorney can helped explain what lies ahead, and they can offer tips and insights that a person without an attorney would not have known.
You Might Not Actually Agree
This is an important point that arises all too often during the course of a divorce. While you and your spouse may have come to a verbal agreement, things may change when the ink hits the paper. If your spouse suddenly decides they want the house or car, you can be stuck at a standstill, which only lengthens the separation process. A divorce attorney can clearly and fairly outline the assets and debts, and they can help mediate if disagreements arise. If you and your spouse truly agree on everything, then the attorney can quickly draft the right paperwork to expedite the divorce.
Your Spouse Hires an Attorney
If your spouse hires an attorney, it should be a sign that you should hire one as well. Now, just because your spouse hires an attorney doesn’t mean he or she is trying to rip you off, but in these situations it’s best to have someone who is experienced with family law look over the documents your spouse’s attorney drafts. Your attorney will ensure that your best interests are at heart. Also, some people believe they can hire one attorney to represent both sides. This is problematic because as an attorney, we are trained to fight tooth and nail for our client. Imagine if the same attorney was asked to represent both the prosecution and the defense in a criminal trial. It wouldn’t work, because the attorney couldn’t put one client’s interests ahead of the other.
Divorce is Complex
While you and your spouse may agree on who get gets the house and how you’ll share custody of the kids, there are plenty of complex assets that need to be divided in a divorce. Many people overlook assets like 401k accounts, pension plans, and retirement benefits, and they forget to account for spousal payments, car payments, or loan debt. An attorney will make sure every asset is divided fairly, they’ll ensure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to receive.