Do I Really Need a Divorce Attorney?

QUESTION: Is there any particular reason why I should hire a lawyer rather than doing a do-it-yourself divorce?

You’ve seen the ads for $59 do-it-yourself divorce and you are wondering, “Why should I pay an attorney, when I can fill out the forms myself?”

Some people have no option. They are in a bad marriage, have few resources, and need to get divorced ASAP. In these cases, a do-it-yourself divorce can be used as long as certain conditions are met:

  • At least one of the parties is a Pennsylvania resident and has lived in Pennsylvania for all of the past six months.
  • Both parties agree on all details of the divorce, including child custody, support, alimony and the division of property.
  • Both parties are willing to sign a property settlement agreement (optional).
  • Neither spouse has filed a prior divorce action.

It is important that couples opting for a do-it-yourself divorce familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania divorce law and follow through on all legal paperwork. The divorce won’t be finalized if the forms are incorrect or if they aren’t filed in a timely manner.

The truth is that it is rare for divorcing spouses to be in complete agreement on child custody, support and property division. In fact, these are the issues most likely to hold up a divorce.  Pennsylvania divorce law sets guidelines for divorce agreements, but the laws can be confusing and hard to understand. When you hire a divorce attorney, your lawyer is responsible for protecting your legal rights and using the law to look out for your best interests.

5 Benefits of Hiring a Divorce Attorney:

  1. Your attorney is an expert on divorce. Your divorce attorney knows Pennsylvania divorce law and will be up to date on any changes in the law.
  2. Your attorney knows how to use the law for your benefit. There are many ways to interpret Pennsylvania divorce law. Your attorney must act in your best interest.
  3. Your divorce attorney can handle your case if your divorce goes to court. You don’t need a divorce attorney in order to go to court, but you must follow certain legal procedures. Your divorce attorney will know which forms are needed and where and when they should be filed with the court.  He will know the local family court judges and attorneys and will be familiar with local court procedure. His legal expertise will prevent mistakes that can hold up your divorce.
  4. Your divorce attorney can help when your ex disagrees with the terms of the divorce. Your divorce attorney has extensive experience with spousal support, child custody, and property division and is able to use a variety of tools to help you create a divorce agreement that will ensure your family’s safety and protect your future.
  5. Your attorney can help you protect your hard-earned wealth. If you have significant assets, you should not hesitate to hire a lawyer.

Hiring a divorce attorney will reduce your stress and ensure that your divorce agreement is clear, accurate, and binding. For more information, contact Petrelli Previtera at 215-523-6900.