In many cases, you can handle a divorce on your own without a lawyer if both parties agree to certain terms of the separation and to issues like spousal support, child custody, and the like. However, you don't want to assume that you should never speak to a family lawyer in a divorce case and especially if you're not happy with the terms you and your spouse are working out. Note when it's good to see a family lawyer for your divorce case and how they can assist you.
1. When you haven't contributed to the family finances
It's easy to think that someone whose spouse worked while they stayed home and cared for the children is not going to have equal claim on the family property and monies. However, the law does take into account if someone contributed to the welfare of the family and the upkeep and maintenance of property, such as in the case of a homemaker. Remember that it would be very expensive to hire someone to manage all the cooking, cleaning, childcare, and other such work that a homemaker or stay-at-home parent manages, and the law recognizes their contribution to the family in this way, even though it was not necessarily financial. Rather than assume you don't have rights to the family finances or property because you didn't contribute actual money to the family, speak to a family lawyer about your case.
2. If you were forced into the marriage under duress
If someone is forced into a marriage by being threatened, because they were underage and could not exercise their rights, or for any other reason, it might be that the marriage should be nullified rather than having a divorce take place. If the marriage were nullified, you would not have the same legal obligations to the other party as you would if you had gotten a divorce, and this can afford you certain protections when it comes to property you owned before the marriage.
3. If you weren't legally married
De facto relationships are often recognized as having the same legal rights as a couple who went through a marriage ceremony. You shouldn't assume that just because you and your partner were living together and not legally married that you don't have rights to common property, spousal support, child custody, and the like. A family lawyer can review your living situation and note if you are afforded those rights and the best way to end the relationship while still protecting you legally.
Welcome! My name is Jessica, and I work as a legal aid secretary. I am in awe of the lawyers in my office and the variety of cases they cover. From injury compensation to family court matters, they need to understand the law in a broad range of areas. As a legal secretary, it is often my job to research particular points of law or find certain cases for reference. It is a fascinating job and I work hard to keep up with the constant changes to our laws and legal processes. Friends and family often ask me for direction on legal matters and whilst I explain that I am no expert, I usually manage to provide sound advice. This blog is for people who share my passion for the law or who want to understand more about our legal system. I hope you find it engaging and useful.