If you’re recently separated, you might be asking yourself questions like “Do I need a divorce lawyer?” and “What will happen to my children?” You might even be confused about how to actually get a divorce. The process, on paper, is much simpler than it may be in reality.
The first step is getting a divorce petition (commonly known as “divorce papers”) written up. These are drawn up by the spouse filing for divorce and “served” on the other spouse who must then sign them, stating they agree to the terms of the divorce.
In 1970, California made it easier to file for divorce by passing a no-fault divorce law. No-fault divorce laws give everyone the freedom to get a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” alone. Before 1970, getting a divorce meant proving that one spouse had done something to ruin the marriage (ex: adultery).
If both spouses agree to the terms, the divorce can be granted without having to go to court. If the spouse being served doesn’t agree to the terms, the couple must have a hearing. This is where a divorce lawyer comes in. So the answer to the question “Do I need a divorce lawyer?” is yes, but only if you don’t agree to the terms of your divorce. This usually happens when the couple has children and child custody is an issue.
Albuquerque family law and most courts presume both parents will have joint custody of the child or children, but in some cases one parent may be granted full custody depending on the circumstances. A divorce lawyer or child custody lawyer could make the court process less stressful on you and your children.
The average age of couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old, which means younger children are often involved. This is also a time when money may be tight and child support is an issue. On average, 18% of monthly income is allocated for child support for one child. If there are two children, the percentage rises to 20%. In cases of LGBT couples with adopted children, having a lawyer is especially important since it’s not clear which parent will have custody.
A lawyer will act as a guide, giving you advice throughout the court process. For example, when preparing for your court hearing, it’s important to avoid social media. During the divorce process, 81% of lawyers say they have seen evidence from social media used in court, and it can mean the difference between having visitation rights and not having them.
Finding a divorce lawyer is as easy as doing a simple internet search (just as you most likely did for “Do I need a divorce lawyer?”). Any Albuquerque divorce lawyer will want you to schedule a consultation first to discuss the situation and any fees he or she may charge. In the end, it’s usually worth the time, money, and trauma they save you.
So if you’re currently separated and looking for options, consider getting a lawyer. It may be what saves your family.