Can I Handle My Own Divorce Without a Lawyer?
The simple answer is yes. The better question is whether or not it is advisable to handle your own divorce. In short, the answer is no - it is not advisable.
If your case involves any of the items listed below, it is highly recommended that you retain (or at least consult) competent counsel:
- Business Valuation
- Legal Decision Making issues (custody)
- Parenting Time
- Spousal Maintenance
- Child Support
- Division of Retirement Assets
- Division of Stock Options
- Waste and/or Dissipation of Assets Issues
- Special Needs Children
- Community vs. Sole and Separate Issues
- Parental Fitness and Substance Abuse Issues
- Deviations from Child Support Guidelines
- Domestic Violence
- Real Estate
- Tax Issues
- Character of Property Issues
It is important to recognize that a number of decisions are made at the time of your divorce and if you fail to address those issues, your rights may be compromised. Further, if you enter into an agreement regarding an important issue, you may be unable to change that agreement. When children are involved in your case, it is typically best to have detailed arrangements to cover as many eventualities as possible. Where there are unpaid taxes, there may be consequences if only one party pays and the other does not. Bankruptcy often involves complicated issues. And most importantly, it may be too late to change the court's orders when you realize that there is a problem.
Addressing these issues requires knowledge of the Arizona Revised Statutes and Arizona case law - your failure to recognize or address may have long-lasting consequences.
About the author: Mervyn Braude is a family law attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He is a certified family law specialist by the State Bar of Arizona. Mervyn is a 2010 Southwest Super Lawyer.