"We're just getting separated. I don't need a lawyer."
This is a common thing people say when they are getting separated, but is it accurate? Should you really wait to hire a lawyer until you are getting a divorce? There are a few things to consider before making the decision to forgo legal representation during your separation.
You Still Need to Protect Your Assets
First, what is the reason for the separation? If there are grounds for divorce, then you will want to protect yourself and your assets as much as possible. Even if you are not planning on divorcing right away, you still need to protect yourself in case your spouse decides to file.
If you have been married for several years or have significant assets, it is important to have a lawyer help you protect your interests.
You Still Need to Work Out Child Custody Arrangements
Another reason you may need a lawyer during your separation is if you have children. You and your spouse will need to work out child custody arrangements, and a lawyer can help you ensure that your rights are protected. Even though this is a separation, the children will be just as affected.
You will need to decide who will have primary custody of the children and how visitation will be scheduled. If you and your spouse cannot agree on these arrangements, a judge will make the decision for you.
You Still Need to Set Up Support Orders
If you and your spouse are going to be living apart, you may need to set up support orders. You may need to pay spousal support or child support, or you may be entitled to receive support from your spouse.
A lawyer can help you determine the amount of support that you should pay or receive, and can also help you set up an easy way to exchange money.
You Still Need to Divide Your Property
Finally, you will need to divide your property if one of you is moving out of the family home. This includes any assets that you have acquired during the marriage, such as a house, cars, furniture, or savings.
You will need to decide who gets what, and a lawyer can help you divide your property in a fair and equitable way. Even if you aren't certain the decision is permanent, you don't want to take chances.
Hiring a Lawyer for Separation Is the Smart Thing to Do
So, while you may think that you don't need a lawyer when you are getting separated, it is actually the smart thing to do. A divorce and legal separation lawyer can help you protect your interests and ensure that you are treated fairly during the process.