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Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer If We Agree on Everything?

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Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to be legal advice. You should always talk to an attorney who is skilled at family law about your unique situation.

Are you wondering if you need a divorce lawyer when you both agree on everything? A quick answer is, yes and no. No, you won’t require a divorce lawyer if you’re comfortable preparing and filing all the documents yourself. Yes, you will require a lawyer if you wish to receive legal counsel that can help you stay away from the difficulties of a “DIY” divorce.

You Most Likely Aren’t Including ‘Everything’

A lot of couples believe they agree on everything but don’t know what is included in “everything”. Many spouses that are separating, don’ know what should (or needs to) be included in a divorce agreement. It is insufficient to say, “we’re dividing everything equally, that includes time with the child(ren).” You need to include a detailed schedule for parenting time, particulars regarding alimony and child support (when applicable), life insurance beneficiary provisions, details about retirement account division, details about the sale of the marital home, etc. These are a small glimpse of the many issues that will have an impact on your family.

DeTorres&DeGeorge says, “It is vital that this divorce settlement agreement is detailed and includes everything that it should.”

A Lawyer Will Help Adequately Create the Agreement

You may create your own agreement but bear in mind that the agreement will manage your rights and responsibilities down the road. According to AndrewFicherLaw, “Even if you agree on everything, you need a lawyer to draft the agreement. Once you agree on everything, you need to memorialize the agreement on paper. Again, technically you can do this on your own. However, the agreement will govern your future obligations and rights for the rest of your life.

If you plan on creating your own divorce agreement, you need to think about using a lawyer to at the very least go over the agreement prior to you signing it. If you are able to complete legal documents and have an understanding of statutes, you don’t, in theory “need” a lawyer, but if the contrary is true, you may want to have one in your corner.

A Lawyer’s Advice Might Prevent You from Signing an Agreement that is Unfair

Many spouses are concerned that a divorce lawyer will modify the agreement they created, but many lawyers are prepared to accept their client’s choice to enter an agreement that doesn’t take into account a “best-case scenario” (or a “what a judge may do”), provided that the lawyer is content that their client comprehends the significance of the agreement they wish to reach. If the lawyer considers that the agreement that is unreasonable or unjust, they’ll let you know. At which point, it’s up to you to determine how to move forward.

What Does Everything Include?

Saying you agree to everything in a divorce means you agree to:

  • how you’ll share custody, parenting obligations, and parenting time
  • the period and amount of any child support
  • the period and amount of any alimony
  • all property division, and
  • all debt division.

Couples that have minor child(ren) or considerable assets will usually be able to advance through an uncontested divorce if they’re able to agree on every major issue mentioned above. A couple that has insignificant disagreements in 1 or 2 places can still stay away from a contested divorce in court but are required to negotiate with one another until they come to total agreement with each other. If they can communicate successfully, they might be able to negotiate in a direct manner. If this isn’t possible, couples may attempt mediation for assistance in getting their disagreements resolved. They may also negotiate using attorneys, but this option increases the costs.

Source:

  1. Hess, Mary Ann HessMary Ann, and Mary Ann. “Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer If We Agree on Everything?” Best Legal Choices, 3 Feb. 2020, bestlegalchoices.com/do-i-need-a-divorce-lawyer-if-we-agree-on-everything/.
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