Do Divorce and Alimony Settlements Require a Family Lawyer?

Alimony Calculator: Do-it-yourself divorce and alimony is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Take this creative approach tried by a man in Mississippi: he put an ad in Craigslist offering “10K to the man or woman who marries” his ex-wife so he would be free from alimony payments. He did add the caveat: “This offer is null and void if it is determined to be illegal in any way – I am not a lawyer.” An amusing ad, but you can be sure your soon-to-be ex-spouse and family court judge will not find it as funny. California does not require that you be represented by a lawyer during a divorce proceeding, but having a family attorney may be in your best interests.

Better than an online alimony calculator, a family lawyer can handle a variety of legal issues, including divorce, child custody, domestic violence petitions, adoption, and more. Just because you hire a lawyer does not mean you want to take your former partner to the cleaners, as they say. Instead, it indicates that you are willing to stand up for yourself, and in fact, a lawyer can make the process go more smoothly. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a “growing number of couples are having more success negotiating settlements with the assistance of their lawyers.”

This allows couples to have more input and control over the process, rather than handing it all over to a judge. AAML president Gaetano Ferro says, “Settlement is almost always less stressful for the spouses than trial, and where there are children, makes it more likely that the parties will be able to effectively co-parent.” In this case, rather than a traditional adversarial role, lawyers take on a more cooperative approach. Again, though, your lawyer represents your best interests, and that of your children, which is important.

Mediation and settlement negotiations can be successful in amicable, uncontested divorces, as well as more complex ones. It can help resolve virtually any issue, including child custody, support, visitation, and alimony. If you have to go to court, it becomes increasingly important that you have proper representation. Jargon, complex laws, and unfamiliarity with the massive legal system are difficult for anyone to navigate on their own.

The cost of an experienced family lawyer can be prohibitive to many people; for those who meet income requirements, pro bono or sliding scale legal aid may be available. If you make too much for aid, but not enough to pay $300 per hour to a lawyer, you do not have to go without representation entirely. Many firms and lawyers offer limited scope representation. This means that you can hire them to handle specific aspects of your case. If, for instance, you need documents drawn up and filed, you can hire a lawyer to do that. If, on the other hand, you need advice on how to handle a custody issue, you can go to a lawyer for a consultation. This is a cost-saving method that is increasingly common in divorce and alimony cases.

Tools To Help You: California Alimony Calculator

Family, divorce, and custody lawyers <insert link to article 4> are trained to handle your case and can ensure that your rights are respected and represented properly.