While many couples in California are able to obtain a divorce without the assistance of an attorney, having an attorney often results in a better outcome as an experienced San Diego divorce attorney can insure your rights are protected and give realistic expectations as to the outcome of the case. Of course, no attorney can guarantee the outcome of any case.
Your Attorney Will Protect Your Interests
Signing a property settlement agreement without consulting an attorney can cost you plenty. Once you agree to the terms and the settlement is approved by the court, it is difficult to go back and change the terms and there are very strict time periods for motions to set aside judgments. A better procedure, rather than have “buyers remorse” and want to set aside is to make sure you completely understand the original judgment and that it is in accord with the law. That also applies to custody and visitation agreements as well once a permanent order is entered.
A Skilled Attorney Can Resolve Disputes Quickly and Fairly
Most couples divorce because they are unable to equitably resolve disputes among themselves. As they are going through an adverse procedure [divorce] this is not uncommon. So when disputes over debt, division of property, custody or visitation arise, it may be difficult to negotiate an outcome which is “fair” to both sides. Direct negotiations often result in petty squabbles over inconsequential items that only serve to delay the proceedings and increase tension and conflict.
An Attorney Can Help Overcome Non-compliance with Court Orders
When one party refuses to abide by settlement terms, enforcement becomes a challenge. However, an experienced attorney will know exactly how to deal with compliance issues more quickly and effectively than an individual. A motion can be filed in San Diego Superior Court, if necessary, to ask the Court for assistance with enforcement.
An Attorney Can Help in Divorce Planning
If you suspect that a divorce or separation is imminent, consulting an attorney can give you tactical advice on issues such as timing, financial considerations, or temporary child custody. For example, if you or your spouse’s income fluctuates seasonally, the timing of separation can create a wide variance in possible settlement terms. In addition, for parenting plan issues, it is much better to be cohabitating and spending 100% of the time with the child or children at the time of the mediation.
An Attorney Can Help Guide Expectations
It is common for one or both spouses to make unreasonable demands, especially in areas such as finances, custody, and visitation. A knowledgeable attorney is familiar with both statutory guidelines for child support, spousal support and visitation as well as the court’s usual interpretation of those guidelines. Again, an experienced San Diego divorce attorney can assist with realistic expectations.
An Attorney Can Help You Avoid Devastating Errors
There are many common errors that can have critical consequences. For example, a dependent spouse cannot receive spousal support unless formally requested in a motion or by agreement. If no agreement, support cannot be retroactive until the date of the filing . On the other side, someone paying child support or spousal support who suffers a financial crisis can obtain modification but only if requested in a timely manner and, again, is not retroactive until the date of filing. One of the most common post-divorce errors is for the parties to “agree” on changed terms of visitation or support without formalizing the agreement with the court. If one spouse later changes their mind, the other spouse has no recourse.
Does Your Spouse Have an Attorney?
If your spouse doesn’t have the benefit of an attorney’s advice, your attorney can give you a significant advantage. An attorney’s knowledge of procedural requirements and legal interpretations can save both time and money and make sure your rights are protected. The law regarding divorce is very complicated and it is difficult for many attorneys to be fully informed and parties who represent themselves can be at a distinct disadvantage.
If your spouse does have an attorney, your attorney can make sure you aren’t taken advantage of. Especially in negotiations, third-party advocates can often reach fair compromises more quickly when unencumbered by the volatile emotions of divorce.
For a free consultation about divorce or other family law issues, call our office at 858-312-8500 or contact us online. Also feel free to visit our website which had articles and information very useful if you are going through a divorce in San Diego.