If there is no way to salvage the marriage, one of the first things that their friends and families suggest is to get advice from an experienced family lawyer.
Even if you separated on good terms, you might still need the services of a legal expert to help you navigate through the process. It is particularly true when minor children are involved.
Without an agreement drawn up, you won’t have the same level of protection when the other party decides to violate the terms of your verbal contract.
As it stands, no court in the country will honor the verbal agreement anyway. It is your word against your former spouse.
According to statistics, the divorce rate in the United States continues to decrease since the 1990s. For instance, there were 3.2 divorces for every 1,000 population in 2016, against 4.8 in 1992.
While the numbers are dropping, the United States remains one of the top countries with the highest divorce rates.
Reasons Why You Contact a Family Lawyer
Here are the compelling reasons why you should hire a family lawyer to protect your interests when the marriage is falling apart:
- You are ending a legally binding contract — Just like any legal document, a marriage is a contract between the two partners. You need to make sure that you protect your interests and that of the child when you end this binding agreement.
- If you do not see eye-to-eye on most issues — When you are already fighting even before you filed for divorce, it’s an excellent idea to lawyer up. If you feel that your former partner can become vindictive, then make sure you have adequate legal representation.
- If minor children are involved — You need to draw up a parental custody agreement to determine who will be the custodial parent. Unfortunately, some people use their children as a way to get back at the ex. If you do not have sole custody, you need to make sure that you have complete access to your kid.
- If there is abuse — Domestic abuse is much more common than you think. It is also a significant reason for you to look for a family lawyer. In cases of abuse, you can insist on supervised visits or even prohibit your former partner from ever going near you or your children.
- Protect yourself — The primary reason why you need legal advice is that the other party will likely hire their attorney. You will find yourself at a severe disadvantage when it comes to litigation. You need somebody with courtroom experience so that you protect your rights when it comes to your children and properties.
But What About Uncontested Divorce?
However, there are cases where the couple opted to agree on the arrangement on their own. It is called uncontested divorce, and they typically have settled their differences on the following:
- The custody of the child
- The responsibility of each parent
- How their properties and assets are to be divided
- How to pay off their mutual debts and obligations
- Child support (amount to be given by each)
- Alimony or spousal support
They will then submit a divorce settlement agreement, which outlines the details of their arrangement.
Typically, the judge will stamp their approval on the contract, unless it is clear that the agreement is unfair to the other party.
However, an uncontested divorce is more of an exception than the rule. For one, a divorcing couple will feel a sense of hostility toward the other, and custody of the children is always the best way to retaliate. Also, the arrangement is easier when the couple has few assets to talk about, if both parties are self-reliant, or the marriage is still relatively new.
The divorce settlement agreement may be drafted similar to a prenuptial agreement. However, there are legal procedures you need to follow to make it legally binding. You may still need a lawyer to review the documents and make sure it complies with federal and state laws.
In the end, you need somebody to explain to you the consequences, so you have peace of mind when you sign on the dotted line. The divorce settlement is very costly to modify, which means you won’t likely save money if that was your initial intention.