Why You Should Think Twice Before Filing for Divorce without an Attorney

In the state of Mississippi, you are not legally required to obtain the representation of an attorney in order to file for divorce.  Given today’s economy, many spouses have therefore elected to file for divorce sans attorney.  However, the decision to file on your own may cost you far more in the long run that what you saved initially.  The following is a list of reasons why you would be wise to think twice before filing for divorce with consulting with a knowledgeable divorce attorney in your state.

  1. A divorce attorney knows the steps—there are two methods of divorce in Mississippi, no-fault or divorce by agreement and fault based.  The two methods require different filings and have different time frames.  An experienced divorce attorney knows what forms need to be submitted, what evidence must be gathered, and how long the divorce will take.  Without the expertise of a divorce attorney, you may end up filing wrong documents or missing important deadlines that can cost you in the long run.
  2. A divorce attorney knows what type of divorce you should file for—as mentioned above, there are two different methods of divorce in our state.  To file for a no-fault divorce, parties must agree to the divorce.  They must then either agree to all the terms of the divorce or there will have to be a trial on the irreconcilable differences.  To file for a fault based divorce, a spouse must prove their soon to be ex spouse is guilty of one of the 12 enumerated fault grounds by a preponderance of the evidence.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods of divorce.  Only an experienced divorce attorney examine the facts of your particular case and advise you as to what method will achieve the best results for you.
  3. You may have to go to trial—if you proceed with a fault based divorce, or a no fault divorce in which you have not agreed to all the terms of the divorce, you may have to go to trial.  Trial will involve introducing evidence, making opening statements, and cross-examining hostile witnesses.  You will need to know the rules of evidence and the various hearsay exceptions.  Without the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney, you may be unable to fully present your case which can have devastating results.  The American Bar Association Coalition for Justice surveyed a group of judges who stated that self-represented litigants generally did a poor job representing themselves and caused a burden to the court.  Self-representation often results in un-favorable results.  Your short-term savings may cost you in the long run if you elect to proceed pro-se.
  4. A divorce attorney can be your best negotiator—during a divorce, tensions are often high between the divorcing spouses.  A good divorce attorney with experience in negotiations can be the cool voice of reason between warring spouses.  A divorce attorney can often guide the parties towards a favorable agreement that will eliminate hours of court time and frustration.
  5. A divorce attorney knows the law—this might sound obvious but it is one of the most important factors in any divorce.  The laws concerning child custody, alimony, child support, and division of assets are complex and laden with technical details that a layperson is simply not going to understand.  An experienced divorce attorney knows the ins and outs of divorce laws, and is apprised of the most recent case decisions that may impact your divorce.  A knowledgeable divorce attorney is your absolute best means of obtaining the most favorable outcome from your divorce.

Matthew S. Poole is a Mississippi divorce lawyer with years of experience in the industry.  He will fight zealously on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.  Call Matthew today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a consultation.

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