Divorce is a sorrowful and sometimes anger-filled time for both separating parties. The legal part of dissolving a marriage is often the most confusing part. Sometimes, divorce does not require an attorney, in other cases, an attorney is absolutely necessary. Before either party proceeds with filing for divorce, it should be determined what category your divorce falls into.
Doing so can save you time and money, and hopefully some heartache:
What state do you live in?
The majority of states these days have no-fault divorce. This means that one party files and even if the other party contests it, the divorce will be granted. Most states also require a separation period, before the divorce is made legal. Most states have both fault and no-fault divorce.
States with only no-fault divorce
You do not need a divorce attorney in the following states:
Iowa, Nebraska, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
To file for divorce, you only need to file online or at your local courthouse.
States with only fault divorce
There are very few states that only have at fault divorce. A fault divorce means that one of the parties is the cause of the divorce, which can be a myriad of reasons such as infidelity, abuse, or abandonment. In these states, you will need a divorce attorney, as both parties may claim that the other party is at fault.
The following states only have at fault divorce:
Arkansas, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.
If you live in one of these states, start asking anyone you know who is divorced, for a referral to their attorney.
The rest of the states allow for both kind of divorces. If you reside in a state that allows either type of divorce, it may be difficult to determine if a divorce lawyer is necessary. If you and your spouse have decided to mutually split, citing irreconcilable differences, filing a no-fault divorce will be the easiest and cheapest route. Divorce doesn't have to be ugly emotionally or financially.
When there are children or large amounts of assets, or situations where one party is claiming abuse, neglect or infidelity, these are the type of situations that require lawyers for both parties. If you are the injured party or have assets to protect, it is absolutely crucial that you thoroughly research and hire an appropriate divorce attorney.
Interview as many lawyers as you need to, to find the right fit for you and your situation. Try to find a lawyer who has successfully argued cases like yours.
Hopefully, both parties can reach a mutually satisfying agreement through their attorneys. To learn more, contact a company like Caplin Susan M with any questions or concerns you have.