Divorce and custody cases can be expensive, and I understand many people want the least expensive option. Some avoid hiring an attorney and attempt to handle their divorce on their own. I would never recommend someone navigate this process without the advice of a family law attorney.
Too many times I have witnessed litigants represent themselves for divorce only to have disastrous results. Too many times I have been asked to review legal settlement documents drafted by the parties themselves that failed to include essential items.
While our justice system allows litigants to represent themselves, the court process is complex and intimidating. The judge in your case cannot provide you with legal advice. North Carolina courts are not like Judge Judy or Judge Mathis, and all evidence submitted in Court must comply with the North Carolina Rules of Evidence. Without a firm understanding of those rules you may find yourself unable to tell the judge everything you want about your case.
Additionally, there are numerous laws and court opinions concerning issues surrounding divorce and custody matters. Complicating matters further, those laws change frequently through legislation passed by the General Assembly or through case law developed by the Courts. Many believe the law is black and white, and though there are some issues firmly rooted in our justice system, there are many that are not.
Perhaps you and your spouse have agreed on everything outside of the court system and think a lawyer is unnecessary. Unfortunately, pitfalls still exist outside of the court system. For instance, you may have agreed upon certain terms of a settlement based on a misunderstanding of the law or you could have forgotten to include release language that would prevent the issues surrounding divorce from coming up again in the future. Many times individuals who draft their own legal documents fail to think through certain ramifications or include important items that may have a lifetime effect.
As an analogy, unless you are a mechanic, you should not attempt to rebuild your car’s engine. Sure, you may be able to find how-to manuals and videos online, but without years of learning and hands-on experience, you may not rebuild your engine correctly. If you fail to rebuild your car’s engine properly, then you can cause even more damage to your car. On top of that, you may end up paying three times as much to a mechanic to fix your engine, than you would if you hired the mechanic to rebuild your engine in the first place. Think of this analogy when deciding whether you need a divorce attorney.
At Robison Smith Law, our divorce and custody attorneys are well-versed in the court process, the settlement process, and all aspects of the divorce process. We can provide you with an invaluable service and put your mind at ease. Attorney fees are often significantly higher when you hire an attorney after trying to draft documents on your own. At a minimum I urge you to consult with a family law attorney here at Robison Smith Law prior to attempting the process on your own.
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