During divorce, everything you thought you knew about your relationship with your ex will change. Before, you were a couple planning for a future together. Now, you are legal adversaries preparing to live separate lives. It may be that you both started out agreeing to settle your case amicably. However, if your ex hires a divorce lawyer and you don’t have one, the process can suddenly seem less cooperative. In this situation, you may think: My ex has a divorce attorney. Do I need one for my California divorce?
California Divorce Requirements
When a party represents themselves in a legal matter, they are referred to as acting pro se. Under California law, there is no requirement that parties to a divorce be represented. Therefore, either spouse can file the proper documents and information with the court to initiate the case.
Filing and Responding to Divorce Pleadings
- When filing for divorce, you will want to be certain that your pleadings have the correct information and are properly served on your ex.
- If you are not initiating the divorce, you will be served with your ex’s divorce documents. Once this occurs, you will have a limited time to file your responsive pleadings.
- It is important to know that how you respond to your ex’s divorce pleadings can impact your entire case
Reasons Why You Need Your Own California Divorce Attorney
Although there is nothing preventing you from representing yourself in your California divorce, there may be several reasons you might want to consider hiring counsel to assist you with your case.
You Need a California Divorce Attorney to Help with Your Divorce Documents
- While you can file your own divorce pleadings, that doesn’t mean that you should. The decisions you make during your case will impact multiple areas of your life for years to come. You want to make sure that:
- Your documents accurately reflect what you are asking for in the divorce, and
- You understand your ex’s proposed terms before agreeing to anything.
- A California divorce attorney knows how to properly prepare the appropriate case documents. They can also help you evaluate the opposing party’s proposed terms. By having your own California divorce attorney, you can help you ensure that your documents are correct and that you have the information you need to make informed decisions.
You Need an Attorney to Advocate for Your Interests
- It may be that you and your ex started out agreeing to most aspects of the divorce. However, now that your ex has hired a divorce lawyer, they have someone advocating for them. A California divorce attorney cannot represent opposing parties. Therefore, it’s important to remember that your ex’s lawyer’s role is to look out for them—not you. Your ex will have a lawyer on their side, and you also need someone to look out for your interests.
You Need Someone Who Understands California Divorce Law
- A California divorce is a complex legal process. As such, it has specific statutes and procedures. A California divorce attorney will understand how these divorce laws and processes operate. Without the advice and guidance of your own counsel, you will be at a disadvantage. Your divorce attorney can help you navigate the legal and procedural aspects of your case every step of the way.
You Need a Divorce Lawyer to Help You Evaluate Your Case
- When couples divorce, they have to subject almost every aspect of their private lives to an impersonal legal process. Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to remain objective and properly evaluate your case. However, the choices you make during divorce will still impact vital areas of your life, such as your finances, health care coverage, retirement, home, and child custody. Your divorce lawyer can bring an experienced perspective to help you evaluate how your decisions will affect you today and in the future.
You Need a Divorce Lawyer to Help You Throughout the Case
- After their attorney gets involved, your ex may change their position on important issues. If that happens, your case could quickly go from being uncontested to contested. You don’t want to be caught off guard and unprepared in this situation. If you and your ex reach an impasse, you may end up in court. Having a divorce attorney throughout your case means you will have their advocacy and counsel throughout the case and no matter what happens.
Contact an Experienced California Divorce Attorney
Having your own California divorce attorney means you will have the support and guidance you need to make important choices about your life and future. You will also have an experienced advocate there to help you assess your case, advocate for you, and look out for your best interest.
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced California divorce attorneys who can help you throughout your case. We can help you both inside and outside the courtroom. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website.