Getting A Friendly Divorce? Here's Why You Still Need A Divorce Attorney

Despite what you see in movies or hear from your friends, not every divorce ends up with a couple at each other's throats. You and your spouse may have both just come to the conclusion that you make better friends than partners and it's time to go your separate ways as lovingly as possible. 

That's awesome, but you may still need a divorce attorney to represent you during the process. Trying to handle your divorce pro se, or without the assistance of counsel, can hurt you in numerous ways. Here's why experienced representation is important:

1. You may not realize all of the financial implications of your divorce without help

There can be a lot of "hidden" financial consequences to your divorce that you aren't considering. For example, you may not fully understand the tax implications that come with a proposed property settlement from your spouse. What seems like a generous award today could turn out to be worth a lot less once the taxes come due. 

There's no undoing a big financial mistake in your divorce once the paperwork is final. You want to be as informed as possible before you make any agreements.

2. The laws surrounding divorce and property rights change over time

Far too many people rely on old information when they're heading into a divorce. Sometimes they base their decisions on advice from a friend or neighbor who went through a divorce in the past. Other times, they're working with personal knowledge that's just outdated. 

For example, the laws surrounding how spousal support is treated have changed drastically in the last few years. Before 2019, alimony was deductible from the payer's taxes and taxable for the recipient. Changes in federal law reversed all that, eliminating the payer's deduction and the tax on the recipient.

The bottom line is this: no matter how harmonious your breakup may be, it's simply pragmatic to have experienced divorce representation from the very start.

3. Your currently amicable relationship with your spouse could suddenly sour

Even though your split is currently civil, that may not last. When emotions run high, people sometimes respond in unpleasant ways. A minor spat over who gets to keep the good dishes could turn into a full-blown war with your spouse.

Asking for help after you've already crafted agreements and made commitments to your spouse about how the split will go could be too late. It's better to approach the situation in a way that's optimistic but prepared — just in case there are real conflicts later.