Do I Need an Attorney for My Divorce?

"Can I get divorced without a lawyer?"

We hear this question a lot. Someone is getting divorced, they get along pretty well with their soon-to-be-ex, and lawyers are so expensive. Do they really need a lawyer? The answer to this question, as with most questions about the law, is that it depends. (But the answer is, in a lot of cases, no!)

If you and your spouse are comfortable completing the judicial forms and agree on how to divide your property and share custody – or at least know you want to get to a fair agreement – you may not need a lawyer. Even if you aren't in total agreement or need help with division of assets, working with a mediator or divorce finance expert may be more productive that working with a lawyer.

Our Hello Divorce plans include help to complete and file all of the paperwork in an easy-to-understand way. There are also mediation, divorce finance, and lawyer services you can add on to any plan.

If you have not been married long and acquired only personal property – or perhaps even entered into a prenuptial agreement that remains uncontested – a lawyer might not be necessary. That said, even if you and your spouse agree on how to divide your property, you may still need a mediator or lawyer for drafting purposes.

Dividing assets

Assets like pensions and retirement can require complex documents (like a QDRO) to change beneficiaries. Vehicles that share a title must be transferred correctly. And if the estate has several real properties or multiple debts, or if there is a business involved, dividing all of this up can be tricky.

Need assistance with your QDRO? Our trusted partner, SimpleQDRO, can help.


Co parenting children

If each spouse is great at co-parenting and communicating, there may be no need for a lawyer to step in and advise you. However, if you cannot agree on custody or visitation issues, a lawyer should advocate for your rights. Sometimes it's easier with older children who can drive themselves back and forth and take care of their extracurricular activities. But it's still a good idea to take your agreement to a lawyer who can advise you of anything you and your spouse may have overlooked.

A mediator or divorce lawyer can also help you visualize any long-term repercussions of your agreement. For example, parties might agree on custody issues for the children at their current ages but fail to craft a schedule that adapts to the kids' changing needs over time.

If you and your spouse have anything less than a full agreement on every issue, it is best to get a mediator involved, and the sooner the better. 

An investment in your future

The cost of a mediator or lawyer can be thought of as an investment in the protection of your future financial well-being and the best interest of your children. What's more, it can provide peace of mind and a rational voice during an incredibly emotional and stressful time in your life. A lawyer can lift the burden of timely filing and help you keep up with deadlines and court hearings. They can offer advice, both legal and practical. Remember: This is probably your first divorce, but a divorce mediator or lawyer has been through hundreds of divorces. It never hurts to get a second opinion – a knowledgeable, experienced opinion – when going through a major life transition like divorce.

Hello Divorce CEO Erin Levine answers: Can I represent myself in my divorce case?

Divorce Specialists
After spending years in toxic and broken family law courts, and seeing that no one wins when “lawyer up,” we knew there was an opportunity to do and be better. We created Hello Divorce to the divorce process easier, affordable, and completely online. Our guiding principles are to make sure both spouses feel heard, supported, and set up for success as they move into their next chapter in life.