Do You Really Need A Lawyer To Get Divorced?

Do You Really Need A Lawyer To Get Divorced

When an individual’s marriage is seemingly at an end, and divorce would appear to be the next logical step, the automatic assumption is that they should contact a family lawyer from to represent them, presumably in light of the fact that their ex-partner has also employed a lawyer.

This often begs the question as to whether you need to have a lawyer in order to get divorced. At the risk of us appearing to want to reduce the number of clients, we might have in the future, our answer if we were ever asked that question would simply be,  legally, you do not need a lawyer to get divorced.

Before we go any further though, it is vital for us to place a huge caveat against that answer and move to a secondary question which is ‘Should you try to get divorced without a lawyer?’, and our answer to that is an emphatic, ‘No, you should not’.

By way of explanation let us look at some facts around divorce and the specific law that applies to it. That law is the Family Law Act of 1975, and it covers not only divorce, but also de facto relationships ending, and many of the legalities that surround how the welfare of children is maintained when their parents divorce or separate.

One key part of the Family Law Act was the removal of the possibility of one of the parties to a divorce to show that it was the actions of their spouse or partner that had led to the divorce. examples of this could be unreasonable behaviour, infidelity, or in the worst cases, domestic violence. Obviously, to job of collating the evidence and then presenting it in court, would primarily fall upon that client’s lawyer.

With this removed from divorce law, and instead replaced with no-fault divorce and the term ‘irretrievable breakdown’, it meant courtroom battles were no longer required in the vast majority of divorce cases.

Now, whilst this would seem to make divorce less confrontational, that does mean that there are not many legal and procedural hoops to jump through, especially if your ex decides to play hardball with regards to matters such as the property settlement, finances, and in particular, children.

For this reason, there are a whole number of questions you should be asking yourself if you are about to go through a divorce, and depending on the answer to any of them, then you most certainly should seek advice from a family lawyer. Here are some of those questions where if the answer is ‘Yes’, you need a lawyer:

  • Do you have any children?
  • Do you and your ex have assets, including property such as a house, stock, shares, pensions, etc?
  • Have you tried to come to an agreement over the share of assets and property but failed to reach one?
  • Has your ex already hired their own lawyer?
  • Is your ex threatening to move out of the state or the country with your children?
  • Has domestic violence been a factor during your marriage?

There are two final questions, which, if they return ‘No’ answers, it means you most definitely need to seek legal advice from a lawyer. The first is ‘Do you know the legal framework, processes, and procedures as they relate to divorce?’. The second is, ‘Do you know what your rights are with regards to divorce?. A ‘No’ for either means you certainly need a family lawyer to help you with your divorce.