The most important decision you may make after deciding to get a divorce? Whether or not to hire a divorce attorney. In New Jersey, an individual involved in a divorce or family law issue has the option to hire an attorney or go it alone and represent themselves in their matter before the courts (what is legally called representing oneself pro se).
On the fence about what’s best for you and your divorce? Here are five factors to take into consideration when making the choice to pursue legal assistance.
What do judges prefer? In the NJ family court system, justices are crunched for time dealing with an overload of cases. Unless they happen to be trained in family law, parties representing themselves may squander time on issues that have absolutely no bearing upon the facts or the outcome of the case, or require a great deal of explanation from the judge on basic legal issues. Because it creates a more effective, efficient courtroom, it’s really no surprise that many judges personally prefer both parties to have attorneys.
An attorney can be your buffer. Representing yourself in your divorce increases the chances that you will need to communicate directly with your spouse, or at least his or her lawyer. If emotions are still running high between the two of you, effective communication over legal issues may be next to impossible. Having an attorney in charge of legal communication can decrease the possibility of raw emotions pushing the divorce off-track.
You can relax. When you hire an attorney, not only are you hiring someone who will file papers and speak on your behalf in front of the judge, but you are also hiring someone whose job it is to worry about all of the details. Not quite sure what forms to file or what kind of paperwork or evidence you need to provide in your family law matter? Your divorce lawyer — if you’ve hired the right one! — will have this information at their fingertips.
What if your “easy divorce” becomes difficult? The job of your NJ family law attorney is to provide professional representation to address your legal difficulties. In the event your uncontested divorce case turns out to be complex, or abruptly becomes complicated and litigious, it is an advantage to have an attorney familiar with your situation on the scene.