There are many variables involved when making a decision to hire a divorce attorney. If the parties involved can come up with an amicable agreement and able to resolve who gets what property and the custody issues have been agreed to, the divorce can be done without an attorney. In this case, you may want to have a paralegal prepare and file the necessary documents. Paperwork in a divorce, depending on the complexity of the issues, can be very overwhelming. When submitting your documents you want to make sure they are prepared properly and filed in the correct order. If you are fortunate enough to have an uncontested divorce, most courts make it fairly easy for you to prepare the appropriate documents. It is always a good idea to have someone who is familiar with the process look over your papers before filing them with the courts. There are some counties that even offer divorce workshops and they will walk you through the process, however they will not offer legal advice.
When there is substantial property and/or children involved or there is an issue with violence or possible substance abuse, it would be wise to hire an attorney. Many times the emotions surrounding a divorce can fan the flames of irrationality where the parties are simply unable to come to any agreements. The divorce attorney can act as an intermediary between the parties. You can communicate with your spouse through your respective attorneys saving you any potential blowup with your spouse.
If you are having extreme difficulty and are unable to come to any satisfactory agreements or settlements, even with your attorney, you may want to consider hiring a mediator. Some court jurisdictions will assign one for your case. The mediator will meet with both you and your spouse to help get through the emotional barriers that are stopping you from coming to a sensible agreement. The mediator is not representing either party but there for both sides.
If your spouse has already hired an attorney and you have received documents from the court, it would be beneficial for you to retain an attorney. You do not want to go against a seasoned professional in court.
Depending on your situation and desire, the divorce process can be done through a settlement or agreement out of court or through litigation in the courts. When you hire an attorney make sure they support the approach you’d like to take.