When you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, the first logical step for both of you is to retain attorneys to represent you. For whatever reason, your spouse may opt to not hire an attorney. Technically, you are not required to have an attorney to get a divorce, but it is highly inadvisable to go through the process without an attorney.
If your spouse chooses to not hire an attorney and instead intends to go through the process on his or her own, you need to know what to expect.
The Divorce Process Will Likely Take Longer
The first thing to expect is that the divorce process is likely going to take more time than it would have had your spouse had an attorney. When a couple decides to divorce, normally both attorneys would correspond on behalf of their respective clients.
When your spouse acts as his or her own legal representative, learning the ropes and the required documentation and deadlines can take more time. Because of the learning curve for your spouse, you can expect the process to take more time than it normally would for two seasoned divorce attorneys.
The length of the divorce is one of the most frustrating things that impacts you personally. Unfortunately, you do not have a say in whether or not your spouse hires an attorney.
The Likelihood of Mistakes Are Higher
Unless your spouse is an attorney, there is a high likelihood that he or she may make a mistake when acting as his or her own attorney. If your spouse is not fluent in divorce law, he or she will not have anyone to turn to for advice. Therefore, your spouse could make a mistake somewhere in the lengthy divorce process, which would require additional time and effort to clear up.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when your spouse attempts to make changes, he or she could have a harder time effectively communicating those changes with the court.
Your Attorney Cannot Provide Help to Your Spouse
If your spouse runs into trouble, your spouse is not allowed to help. You also cannot share an attorney in an effort to save money or facilitate the divorce more quickly. If your attorney were to help your spouse with your divorce, it becomes a conflict of interest for both of you, even if you approve for the sake of completing the process.
You May Become Frustrated
When you go through the process of divorce, your attorney will work with you to prepare what you need to say, if anything. You may not have to speak in court at all, even if you would like to, to preserve your interests in the case. Your attorney will let you know what to do if the judge speaks to you directly.
However, because your spouse is self-representing, he or she will not have the same preparation and may speak in court at different times. Your spouse may say some upsetting or frustrating things you would like to respond to. However, you have to restrain yourself from speaking out of turn in court, no matter how frustrated you feel.
It can be difficult to deal with a spouse who does not hire an attorney for your divorce. However, your main concern is to look out for your own interests and those of your children if you are a parent. Having a skilled divorce attorney on your side is the best way to protect yourself and feel confident in the outcome of your divorce.
If you need assistance with your divorce, please contact The Law Offices of Thomas Marola. We look forward to working with you.