Technically, you can get through a divorce or custody battle without an attorney. Particularly, in Utah, the court system has gone to a lot of effort to provide forms and templates. For some cases, there are even online wizards that can put together many of your court documents. Additionally, if you appear in court without an attorney, the commissioner or judge will be reasonable with you. But, with that said, there are still compelling reasons for why you should invest in an attorney.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Templates can help you present your case to the judge. But a generic template does not always fit your unique situation. Nor does the template tell you what the law is or how other laws will affect your case. The generic motion template also does not tell you what you can ask the court to order. Nor do the templates explain what you need to be doing from the start to prepare for a potential trial.
Divorce and Custody Cases are Emotionally Rough
Court cases are adversarial by nature. When the opposing party presents their materials, you will not be pleased. And, in court, you will find it difficult to deal with your case on both an emotional and logical level. In settlement negotiations, you may find it rough to stand your ground alone. This is particularly true if you have a mediator or custody evaluator who does not seem to favor you. You may not realize that the law and the judge might favor you. At every stage of the litigation, having the assistance of an attorney to advise you is invaluable.
It Is Cheaper to Get a Good Outcome at the Beginning
When you go into court for the first time, you want to get it right. Once the judge has made a decision, it becomes harder for an attorney to help you sway the judge the other way down the road. It is not uncommon for us to work with clients who have decided to hire an attorney after getting poor results in court. It is better late than never, but where possible, it would be better to hire an attorney in the beginning. Money also plays into it. Court battles involve costs that can equal or exceed the attorney fees. If you have to go it a second round with an attorney, you may have to incur the same costs again.
At Christensen Law, we can work with you to improve your chances regardless of where you are in the process. We are convinced that for the above reasons, and others, hiring an attorney is a good investment.