The short answer is, maybe. If you rent an apartment and have no kids you probably don’t need a divorce attorney. However, if you have a house, kids, retirement or a non-marital claim you need an attorney. It’s that simple. In the decade plus I’ve been doing this I can’t tell you how many cases I have seen where people are making $30k, $40k or more per year and they do not got to a divorce lawyer. I am always truly shocked when I see the mistakes that are made. When you sell a house you pay 3-5% commission and you don’t even blink, but for some reason some people feel they can fill out some forms and get a good result for their divorce. They don’t.
Ok, Ok, I hear you, you’re saying, “Yes, but don’t you make your living doing divorces? Isn’t this just a way to make more money?” No it’s not. The way I (and other divorce lawyers) make more money is by cleaning up the mess made when you don’t have an attorney. Sometimes we can fix the mess (for example changing parenting time) other times we can’t fix the problem (missing out on alimony for example). This why there is a picture of a janitor in this post.
But I hear when people say they can’t afford to hire a lawyer. Well, we aren’t cheap, it’s true. But, with some common sense and doing a little of the work yourself you can save thousands of dollars. Most non-contested divorces run anywhere from $750-$1,500. That’s all. For that you can get an experienced attorney looking at your case, identifying issues you may not know about, doing the legal paperwork and best of all, if there is a mistake the lawyer should have malpractice coverage to pay for the problem he or she created.
So, if you have kids, a house, or property please, do not do your own divorce. Shop around, get a lawyer to perform an “Uncontested Divorce” and you’ll be much better off.
As always, if you have questions or comments either post them or email me at www.rokolaw.com
Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office
Mankato, MN 56001