Why You Need a Lawyer for A Divorce (Even If It’s Uncontested)
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Divorce (Even If It’s Uncontested)
You and your spouse have agreed to divorce. Both of you have discussed things and reached an agreement on all of the terms of the divorce. The seemingly countless number of document preparation services out there proclaim that they can give you everything you need to get an uncontested divorce without needing to hire any legal representation. This may be a tempting offer, but please make a fully informed decision before you attempt to get a divorce without a lawyer. These document prep services commonly commit the crime of Unauthorized Practice of Law. The path to an uncontested divorce is still lined with legal red tape and very specific rules for filing. Attorney Kristin R. Drake handles all of the document preparation you need for your uncontested divorce and at an affordable rate. Secure the benefits of having trusted legal counsel to guide you through the divorce process.
Document Preparation Services and the Unauthorized Practice of Law
If you have done a simple web search for how to get an uncontested divorce, you were probably bombarded with links to document preparation services proclaiming the ease and affordability of a lawyer-free uncontested divorce process. Be wary of these claims. First of all, hiring an attorney for an uncontested divorce need not be costly. Second, there are several key benefits to having legal representation for an uncontested divorce. Third, these document preparation services often commit the crime of Unauthorized Practice of Law.
When someone other than a lawyer takes facts (i.e. your information such as debts, assets, information about your children, etc.) and applies the law to it, it is considered the Unauthorized Practice of Law. This is a crime. Document preparation companies often say that they merely “prepare documents” and this does not constitute the practice of law. However, they cannot prepare those documents for you without taking your information and applying the law to it. They may say they are just filling in the forms, but hey are doing much more than that.
If you choose to procure the services of a document preparation company, please make sure that a licensed attorney works for the company offering these “services.” If you are still unsure, you can check with the Oklahoma State Board of Bar Examiners. The Unauthorized Practice of Law is a serious offense. All lawyers are required to report anyone suspected of doing this.
Benefits of Having a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce
There are benefits to having a lawyer for an uncontested divorce that will not be covered even by the legitimate document preparation companies. First and foremost, having access to an attorney who will answer questions about the uncontested divorce process can be invaluable. Finding the required forms and documents you need to file can be difficult. If you have any questions about court procedures or how to fill out forms, you may be met with a strong unwillingness for anyone in the clerk’s office or the courthouse to help. Judges and court staff are precluded from giving legal advice. Instead of risking entering into any gray area, you may find that people in the courthouse will not make any attempts to circumvent these rules and will not give you the answers you seek.
Additionally, an attorney will know how to properly draft and finalize each document to meet the needs of your specific situation. Some people are not aware of this, but a judge may still exercise discretion in whether or not to grant the uncontested divorce. Even if you and your spouse have agreed to all terms, if a judge thinks you are entering into an unworkable situation or it would in no way be in the best interest of your children to grant the divorce under the agreed upon terms, the judge may deny the Petition for Divorce. A lawyer can help guide you through the paperwork. If there is a concern that the judge will not grant the divorce based on the agreed upon terms, a lawyer will be able to help you with an alternative arrangement that the judge will more likely be willing to approve.
Another benefit of working with an attorney is that Information you share with an attorney is confidential and attorneys are bound to rules of professional conduct. Other legal professionals such as paralegals may be familiar with the uncontested divorce process and may offer you their services. Be aware that if a legal professional such as a paralegal drafts your documents, you do not have confidentiality protection and there is no recourse against them if they fail to properly draft the documents.
Post-decree modification is extremely difficult and can be very costly. Don’t agree to something that could affect you for the rest of your life. Make sure you are comfortable with the terms of the divorce and that all legal documents have been properly executed.
Uncontested divorce legal representation you can count on
The benefits of hiring a lawyer to help guide you through the uncontested legal divorce process have far reaching implications and it need not cost you an arm and a leg. Attorney Kristin R. Drake is committed to providing sound legal counsel at an affordable rate. Contact her today for a free consultation.