Deciding whether to hire an attorney or to handle your case yourself is a tough decision. Below are a few bullet points to help you decide whether hiring an attorney is the best decision for you, or whether handling it yourself could be a good option. These bullet points are not deal breakers on their own, but they can help you identify trends regarding the realities of your current situation.
- My spouse/the other party are fairly amicable, or at least on speaking terms
- I have enough free time to devote to my legal case (at least a few hours each week).
- My spouse and I have no children.
- We have no major assets or debts.
- I have a support system to help me through this process.
- I feel comfortable navigating the court website to find information, help, and DIY paperwork.
- I trust myself to be my own advocate.
- My spouse and I are not able to communicate.
- I am busy with work, kids, etc. and do not have extra time during the week to devote to my case.
- We cannot agree on custody or parenting time.
- We have significant debts that need splitting.
- My spouse has retained an attorney.
- There is a history of abuse in my relationship.
- I suspect my spouse is hiding assets.
When deciding whether to hire an attorney, keep in mind that the attorney you hire does not have to manage every aspect of your case. Most firms offer different tiers of representation. These are often referred to as full-scope or limited-scope representation. Full-scope representation is full service, the firm will be there to handle most (or all) aspects of your case. Retaining an attorney for full-scope services is not the only option, many individuals decide that limited representation is the better choice for them. You can always consult with an attorney just once (or as many times as needed) to get legal questions answered and address any concerns you may have. Hiring an attorney for limited representation means that you will handle much of your case on your own, but it also means that you will pay fewer attorney fees. The important thing to remember is that legal services do not have to be all or nothing, you can tailor these services to be exactly what you need. When in doubt, you can always consult with an attorney just once so that they can help you decide which option is best for you.