If you’re considering a divorce, legal separation, annulment, or child custody/support settlement in Arizona, you might be wondering if hiring an attorney is worth it. After all, legal counsel is an expensive investment.
The truth is that you are always in a better position with legal representation, or at the very least legal guidance, from a competent and skilled Arizona family law attorney. However, if money is tight, you may be able to terminate your marriage or handle other domestic legal affairs without the assistance of a lawyer.
Many divorces in Arizona take place without either side employing a lawyer. Couples do not need a particular reason to file for divorce in Arizona because it is a no-fault divorce state; all that is required is that the spouses do not get along – also known as irretrievable differences.
While filing for divorce without legal counsel can be considered for some couples, it is a risk you should avoid – at the very least, without talking with an attorney who specializes in this field of law. There are numerous challenges along your path to consider.
When It’s Sensible to Do It Yourself
You may be qualified to represent yourself if the marriage was short-lived, there are little conjugal assets, and there are no disputes regarding child custody or child support.
The most important factor to consider when determining whether or not to employ a family law attorney is if you have the time and patience to acquaint yourself with the laws and procedures, fill out the court forms, gather the relevant documents, and submit them to the court. It won’t be easy work. However, there are self-serve forms and guidelines available online or in self-help facilities at Arizona county Superior Courthouses at no cost to help you through the process.
If the situation is straightforward and both partners are agreeable, you may be able to follow through without the help of an attorney. Because these are forms, they will not apply to every circumstance or situation, and you will be liable for ensuring they are correct for your situation. You will also need to handle the court filing expenses as well as serving the documents on the other partner.
When You Should Hire the Services of an Arizona Family Law Attorney?
Unfortunately, simple legal situations can suddenly intensify into circumstances beyond your control. If your case is challenged, you may be compelled to go to trial. This is when you will undoubtedly require the services of a lawyer. In Arizona, representing yourself in court, especially at an evidentiary hearing or trial, is usually never a wise move. You have far too much on the line to compete on a playing field that is severely stacked against you.
You should certainly seek a lawyer if:
- The opposing party has retained legal counsel.
- You and the other party can’t agree on too many aspects of the divorce and, even worse, if you can’t have a respectful dialogue with each other.
- You and the other parent disagree over dividing parenting time or come up with a suitable schedule for acceptable hours, holidays, and special days, and one or more minor children are involved.
- The case involves one-of-a-kind or difficult legal challenges, such as new and upcoming legal rulings.
- You have a complex set of circumstances, such as owning a family business, hidden cryptocurrency, a consulting company, several commercial interests, or real estate holdings in different states.
Please consult a knowledgeable attorney if any of these circumstances apply to your situation. Failure to do so could bring about severe repercussions.
Keep in mind that if you choose to represent yourself, you will be viewed as though you are well-versed in the law and the procedures for handling your case. The regulations set numerous deadlines, and if you miss one, you may be barred from further participation in your case, leaving you with little time to offer any information to the judge. If you do not show up for a scheduled court hearing, the case will most certainly go forward – and that could be the end of it.
While some Arizona couples can and do divorce without legal representation, paying a consultation fee to have an family attorney to analyze the divorce is worth the investment. The lawyer will be able to tell you whether there are any concerns in your case that need to be looked at further.
Contact Us Today
If you are considering filing for divorce in Arizona or must answer to a divorce petition, you should speak with an Arizona family law attorney who is qualified and experienced in this field. You should not go it alone.
To schedule a personal consultation with one of our family law attorneys, call Goldman Law, LLC at (602) 698-5520 or fill out our contact form.