Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce?

Updated on December 13, 2021
Updated: October 15, 2022

You have finally come to the conclusion that the marriage is not working and you need to leave and have a separate life from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. But you’re in a dilemma whether to involve a lawyer to help you with the divorce.

This decision is not easy to make especially if you are trying to save on costs. You can consider a few factors before making a decision on a lawyer. If your question is do I need a lawyer for a divorce this article will help you figure out if you do.

Contentious Issues During a Divorce

There are a few major factors when it comes to divorce without a lawyer that will help determine if your divorce will be easy or if you will need to go to court. Below are some of the factors that you will need to consider so you can decide if you don't need a divorce attorney through the entire divorce process.

  • Child Custody - If you have agreed on the parenting plan you will use for the minor child, and how you will visit them the divorce hearing process will be easier.
  • Child Support - Finances are key in taking care of a child. Finances determine how much you will spend paying for food, clothes, school tuition, and so many other things. If after discussions with your spouse you can agree on the child support you may not need a lawyer.
  • Alimony – Spousal support will be allocated depending on how many years you have stayed together and the sacrifices that have been within the period of marriage.
  • Assets and Debts - If with the help of a divorce mediator you have both decided on the distribution of the assets and debts without the help of a lawyer you are one step closer to a smooth divorce.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce?

Also, if you have a divorce document that has a divorce agreement after a petition for divorce you may not need an experienced attorney working on your divorce settlement.

Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

Smooth transaction for the children. Children are also hit hard by the divorce and having such a smooth system allows them to heal and accept the new norm in their lives.

Saves time and money. You are able to save a lot of time that would have been used to go to court proceedings and money that would have been used to hire lawyers.

As opposed to a contested divorce where you go to trial have more control if it is an uncontested divorce. When you agree you are able to decide what to do, how to take care of the children, and how to support each other without court interference.

Learn More: How Long Does it Take to get a Divorce?

What to Avoid While Going Through a Divorce

Divorce proceedings can be really stressful. There are a few things that you should avoid as much as possible so as not to complicate the process.

  • Do not Increase Debt - If you are going through divorce avoid debt as much as you can. You may not be able to financially recover as fast as you want after a divorce and debt will only further drain you.
  • Do not get Pregnant - It would be advisable to avoid getting pregnant during the divorce process to avoid complicating your case. If you are unable to take care of the child your divorce may not be granted.
  • Don’t Dismiss Mediation - mediation is when a neutral party, a mediator helps two parties come to a consensus on an issue. If the issues hindering you from divorcing your soon to be ex-spouse are minor it would be wise to use a mediator to help you come to an agreement. Lawyers are not needed during the mediation process. However, it is good to avoid mediation if your spouse is manipulative and abusive.
  • Never Dismiss Your Mental Health - If you can see a psychologist then go ahead and see one. Going through a divorce can be very traumatizing. Put your health first and ensure you are in a good mental capacity for yourself and even your children.
  • Never Forget to Protect Your Children - Show your children love and affection during this trying time so that they may be protected from the horrors of the divorce. Keep in mind that the divorce affects them too. They are used to having both parents but they currently will be raised by single parents.

Reasons You Need a Lawyer

Divorces are complicated, and many issues can arise that require you have legal help:

Fault Divorce

The easiest way of ending a marriage is filing a no-fault case, and stating that the marriage is irreconcilable. It shortens the court proceedings and you can have the marriage dissolved as fast as possible. However, one of the spouses may decide to file a fault-based divorce. If so, it would be better to hire an experienced divorce attorney who will defend you in court. Fault-based divorce not only affects your social status but can also lead to the division of assets in favor of the spouse filing the divorce.

man and women talking at a table with paperwork and gavel in front of them, Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce in Illinois?

Child Support

When going through a divorce with children and you have not agreed on child support you should hire a lawyer to defend you in court. Children should be in capable hands. If as a parent knows you are not sure that the other parent can take on the responsibility you should get a lawyer to help you with physical custody.

Spousal Support

Couples that have been married for a long time, couples who have had to quit their jobs to take care of the children, couples who have invested in one spouse to ensure that they succeed to take care of both of them ended up being the biggest financial losers after a divorce. However, this changed thanks to the spousal support where the spouse who is financially capable than the other is supposed to give the less capable spouse an allowance for a period of time until they can take care of themselves.

If you feel that you need more alimony get legal representation. If you also feel that the other spouse is asking for too much alimony or does not deserve any, get a divorce lawyer to defend your claims in court. The lawyer will go through bank statements and will check the financial status and help you get the best deal in court.

When the Other Spouse has a Lawyer

If you are served with divorce papers by your spouse’s lawyer it is time for you to also level the playing field, and The spouse does not want mediation between the two of you and if you go to court alone, the other spouse’s lawyer may get his or her way around you and get the judge to rule in their favor.

Division of Property and Debts

Have you and your spouse decided on the division of debt and marital property? If not and mediation seems futile, then getting a family law lawyer would go a long way into helping you have a fair distribution of both assets and debts. Do not mediate if the other spouse is manipulative, you may end up losing during mediation on an issue you would win in court.

You can call Tomalieh Law and tell an experienced divorce lawyer your story. We are knowledgeable on the divorce law in Illinois and we are ready to represent our clients during a trial or in the collaborative process and advise them accordingly during mediation. Call (708) 232-0017 to talk to us, we'd love to help get a favorable divorce decree!

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