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Pros and cons of hiring a divorce attorney: issues to consider when debating whether to go pro se

While hiring an attorney to handle your divorce is not legally required, it often is beneficial. Many who do not hire a divorce attorney (commonly referred to as going "pro se"), feel that it is economically the best decision. As you weigh the costs and benefits of using an attorney's services versus going pro se, it is in your best interest to be informed of the implications of both sides. The following describe a few pros and cons of hiring a divorce attorney.

An attorney will be an objective advocate. But it is expensive. During your divorce process, you will be faced with a great amount of stress and negative emotions as you battle the deeply personal issues of child custody, division of marital property, etc. Dealing with these emotions can affect your ability to make the most rational decisions and properly represent yourself in your best light in court. Hiring a divorce attorney will ensure your best representation, as he or she will be an objective advocate, having no personal ties to the case. While this objectivity will work to your greatest advantage, it will come at a high cost. Attorney fees can easily cost thousands of dollars before all is said and done. Because of this, it is in your best interest to evaluate what you have to lose by not hiring an attorney in comparison to the money you will pay an attorney to protect your share of your income and assets as well as your parental rights.

You are more likely to be heard. But sometimes attorneys are overly aggressive. Having a reputable attorney advocating on your behalf speaks volumes to a judge. He or she will be able to express your needs and desires in the most effective way possible. Keep in mind that you will not only be battling your spouse for money and time with your children-you will also be battling his lawyer. If your spouse has hired an attorney, you can be sure that his voice will be heard above yours. However, on the flip side, hiring an attorney who will aggressively pursue every last victory for you will arouse feelings such as anger and resentment from your spouse. Attorneys, trained to win as much as possible and to stop at nothing, are notorious for their aggressiveness in the courtroom. Winning full custody of your children, a large maintenance settlement, and a larger than necessary amount of marital property may sound wonderful at first sight; but, if it puts an even bigger strain on your relationship with your spouse, you may want to consider allowing a more reasonable settlement.

Your attorney has the tools you need and don't have. You may know what you want out of your divorce, but you will not have the tools to make it happen. The divorce process is full of legalities and technicalities, paperwork, deadlines, and an endless amount of other things that most people are not familiar with. It is your lawyer's job to take care of these things while learning what you want and need in this divorce settlement. Having a thorough understanding of the court system and how the law can work in your favor, he or she will then be able to advise you regarding what is best for your individual case. Obviously, if your case is simple, perhaps it might be best to go it on your own.

For more information on hiring a divorce attorney, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.

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The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, Inc. 728 North Court Street, Suite B Rockford, IL 61103 Phone: 815-981-4859 Fax: 815-997-5129 Rockford Law Office Map