Close Menu

If My Spouse Files for Divorce, Do I Need My Own Attorney?

Posted on July 15th, 2023

If My Spouse Files for Divorce Against Me, Do I Need My Own Attorney?

Divorce can be one of life’s most emotionally challenging experiences. When one’s spouse files for divorce, this may aggravate an already difficult situation because of the stress and uncertainty that comes with it.

One of the worrying concerns during such a time is whether you need to hire your own attorney. The decision on whether you need your own attorney should not be taken lightly, as it can significantly affect the outcome of your divorce. While you may choose to represent yourself in divorce proceedings, in what is called “pro se” representation, this can be risky, especially if you do not understand the legal system well and the implications of your decisions.

Let’s look at some factors to consider when deciding which path to take and the benefits of seeking legal counsel.

Six Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Hire a Divorce Attorney

Hire a Divorce Attorney

Before making the critical decision of whether to go pro se or seek legal representation, there are several factors you should keep in mind. These include the following:

Has Your Spouse Hired Their Own Attorney?

If your spouse has hired their attorney, seeking legal representation is also in your best interest. Do not attempt to go head-to-head with an experienced family law attorney alone. Even if you are well versed in California’s divorce laws, a simple mistake in your paperwork can have long-lasting consequences. With the stakes so high, consider lawyering up with an experienced divorce attorney to ensure your rights are protected and to increase your chances of a fair settlement.

Do You and Your Spouse Agree on Child Support and Custody?

Child custody and support are often highly contested in divorce cases. The decision on who decides about your child’s health, education, and welfare and where the child will live must be in the children’s best interests. Additionally, the agreement on child support as per who will pay, the amount to be paid, and the frequency of payments must be as per the state’s guidelines and in the best interests of the child. If you and your spouse cannot agree on such crucial matters, having your own attorney is essential in advocating your children’s best interests and ensuring that even you as a parent have your rights protected.

Do You and Your Spouse Agree on How to Divide Property and Debts?

California is a community property state, meaning any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are typically divided equally between the spouses. However, disputes over property division and debts still arise in divorce cases, especially if one spouse incurred huge debts that were of no benefit to the family without the consent of the other or where high-value assets are involved. As such, having an attorney negotiate a fair distribution of your assets and debts is highly advisable to protect your financial interests.

Do You and Your Spouse Agree on Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also called alimony, is the payment that the higher-earning spouse makes to the lower-earning or unemployed spouse for a specified period. Spousal support is often a contentious issue in divorce cases.

Spousal support can be temporary, which aids the lesser-earning spouse during the divorce proceeding so that they can meet their basic needs. It can also be permanent, where the higher-earning spouse pays the other spouse so that the supported spouse can have the same or close to the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on spousal support, having an attorney by your side can help secure a fair and reasonable settlement amount depending on your unique situation.

Is There a High Conflict Between You and Your Spouse?

If many disagreements and conflicts characterize your divorce, having your attorney act as a buffer between you and your spouse is best. The attorney can help in facilitating communication and negotiation.

Could Your Spouse Be Hiding or Wasting Assets?

Unfortunately, some spouses may attempt to hide, waste or transfer assets to gain an advantage during divorce proceedings. Having your attorney can help uncover any hidden assets and help you receive your rightful share.

Benefits of Having Your Own Attorney

Having your own divorce attorney can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • Protecting your interests to ensure you are not taken advantage of during negotiations
  • Crafting a unique strategic solution for your case
  • Increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome
  • Reviewing the settlement agreement to ensure it is fair even if you and your spouse are on amicable terms and agree on most issues
  • Bringing their expertise and guiding you through the process

Contact the Skilled Divorce Attorney in Los Angeles, CA Today

A divorce can have a profound impact on your future. If your spouse files for divorce in California, it is wise to hire your own attorney. Contact the skilled and experienced Los Angeles divorce attorneys at the Harris Family Law Group at 310-745-8644 today. We can protect your rights and ensure you receive the best possible outcome for your case.