You have the right to represent yourself in your divorce case. Certainly, representing yourself is a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer. However, if you represent yourself, you risk giving up important rights.
I recommend that you hire a Houston Divorce Attorney if you face any of the following circumstances:
1. If custody of your children is hotly disputed. Even if you are a good parent, you may lose custody of your children. A lawyer will help you present a stronger case for custody to the court.
2. If your former spouse has hired a lawyer. The laws and procedures involved in a divorce are quite complex. Do not let yourself be outmanoeuvred by someone who knows the ropes. The court will not protect you when you make errors.
3. If you have significant assets to protect. A lawyer will ensure that you pay only a fair amount in support payments and that the property is divided fairly. A lawyer can minimize the amount of taxes you pay by structuring the settlement properly. A lawyer can help ensure that you remain in control of your business.
4. If your spouse is claiming spousal support. The area of spousal support is the most uncertain area of divorce law. Courts come to very different conclusions about how much spousal support should be paid, even on similar facts. Your lawyer will ensure that you only pay a fair amount of spousal support, if any.
5. If you have a pension. If you have been working at the same job for any length of time, it is likely that your second most valuable asset (after your home) is your pension. The law regarding how pensions should be divided is complicated. Your lawyer will ensure that the pension is valued and divided fairly.
6. If there is an imbalance in power between you and your former spouse. If your former spouse is domineering or controlling, you will be better off dealing with him through a lawyer.
7. If there are allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. Even if the allegations are not true, they can have a devastating effect and must be dealt with quickly and appropriately.
8. If you cannot communicate with your former spouse. You will not be able to settle things with your former spouse if you cannot communicate. You will need the help of a lawyer to ensure that you get what you should receive.
9. If you or your former spouse is self-employed. The valuation of a business is complicated and you will need a lawyer’s help. Also, the amount of spousal and child support payments that must be paid is based on income. It is often easy for someone who is self-employed to manipulate income or to hide assets.