Hiring a divorce attorney can be a daunting task. In many situations involving a legal dispute, challenge, or deal, you may not wish to chance the risks of going it alone without the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you out. In fact, while good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help get you out of a number of sticky situations.
How do I locate a divorce attorney?
The first thing you should consider when hiring a divorce attorney is where you will be filing or responding to a legal action. If you have a case in California, you should look for a California divorce attorney. A California divorce attorney will be licensed to practice in the State of California and will know the applicable law that may be used in your case. You can further limit a search by hiring a divorce attorney located in Sacramento. A Sacramento divorce attorney not only practices in the area but should be familiar with the local court rules.
Do I need an attorney?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is probably better to avoid problems in the first place rather than try to fix them once they arise. If you have an attorney, in many instances, it will help you avoid potential legal headaches down the road. You should hire an attorney if you do not fully understand the legal issues present in your case. An experienced attorney will know what documents need to be filed, which court to file, and what information needs to be presented in your case.
Do I have a complicated matter?
If you matter is complicated you should carefully consider the consequences of representing yourself in certain instances. Even an experienced divorce attorney will not typically represent themselves in court. A solid case can quickly unravel without the help of a trained and emotionally detached divorce attorney. Similarly, failing to hire a divorce attorney at the beginning of an action can result in otherwise avoidable pitfalls.
Can I afford a divorce attorney?
Not having a divorce attorney may actually cost you more. What is at stake? Should you not address all issues in your case, you may end-up hiring a divorce attorney who will now charge you to review your case and possibly be required to file amendments to your case. Also, you may be able to claim legal fees in a civil case and actually save yourself some money by hiring a divorce attorney.
What difficulties will I have with a trial?
Lawyers know how to challenge (and sometimes suppress) evidence. You may not even know that a key piece of evidence against you was improperly obtained or that the testimony of a witness contradicts an earlier statement.
Do you need an expert witness? Because you don’t know any expert witnesses or private detectives, you will have difficulty locating and retaining an expert. Attorneys depend on an extended network of professionals to help their clients’ cases. Most non-attorneys do not personally know the types of professionals who can help with discovery or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party.
Can I file my own court documents?
Attorneys understand how to properly file court documents and handle other legal procedures. If you’re not an attorney, you may struggle with the deadlines and protocol for properly filling out and filing certain legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could derail your case, delay a given legal procedure or worse – have the case thrown out altogether (and not in your favor).
Should I be the first one to file?
You decision whether or not to file first depends on what issues need to be addressed in your case. When you file as a petitioner you have the advantage of “controlling” the case; most importantly, filing for a default. When you file as a respondent you can challenge the petitioner’s allegations who has the burden of proof. An attorney who understands the law will be best situated to explain your options and can help you avoid potentially severe pitfalls even before you file or respond to an action.
Can I settle my case out of court?
A good lawyer can create an opportunity for a fair settlement offer or agreement. An experienced lawyer most likely has seen cases similar to yours or at least knows enough to make a calculated guess about how it might be resolved. Sometimes a settlement is the best choice, while other times it makes more sense to see your case through to trial. Settlement negotiations play an important part in all cases.
What if the other party has an attorney?
You are generally at a disadvantage when the other side has legal representation. You will not someone who not only knows the law but who can objectively view your case. Your divorce attorney may “see things” that you miss or do not understand.
Can I get a free consultation?
Most divorce lawyers often are willing to provide you with a free initial consultation. You can meet with an attorney who will discuss your case with you. Even if you do not hire an attorney, you may get insight about your case.
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