Q: Do I need an attorney if my spouse and I agree on everything? A: Yes, an attorney can be a great asset during an agreed divorce. Having an attorney does not mean that you have to have a nasty, bitter, legal battle in Court. Attorneys can provide you with information about the divorce process, your rights and obligations, how the law applies to your situation, draft legal documents, and help you make informed decisions. Because the average person is not familiar with the law, case interpretations of the law, and the Courts, it is not uncommon for people to misjudge the complexity of their case or what may be required.
In Texas, there is a waiting period between the time a petition for divorce is filed and the time the Court will allow you finalize the divorce. A lot of things can happened during this waiting period and the desire to have an uncontested divorce may change when the spouses begin to detangle their emotional and financial lives from each other. Even with the best intentions, conflict can occur and unravel informal agreements initially made between the spouses. When these informal agreements fall apart, the injured party will usually get an attorney involved. Sometimes people learn that they lost some legal high ground due to time and initial uniformed decisions they made. In contrast, an attorney can make a legally enforceable document that ensures the agreement must be honored. Sometimes, this can keep the peace and keep the divorce from spiraling out of control.
Even when people truly have an agreement and are able to maneuver through the legal maze to the complete the process, there can be unintended consequences by drafting your own divorce decree. Many people do not know that additional documents may be needed to actually convey ownership of assets and debts acquired during the marriage. When legal issues concerning property and children are not addressed correctly, it can cost a lot of money after the fact trying to fix it, if fixing it is even possible. I have seen cases where a good family law attorney could’ve saved a lot of time, trouble, and heartache by drafting the final decree and making sure the couple’s intentions were executed properly under the law. Many times, omissions or errors in the divorce decree could have been prevented easily and inexpensively if an attorney was involved. This issue has become more prevalent when so much information is available on the internet. Many intelligent people fall victim to the idea that they can do it themselves with a little research.
In conclusion, attorneys can help inform, protect, advise, and draft documents in an agreed divorce. Many family law attorneys offer consultations to explain the divorce process and how the law might apply to your situation. Scheduling a consultation with a family law attorney is the first step and can make a positive difference in the outcome of a divorce.