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The downsides of self-representation in a divorce

Getting a divorce can be stressful for many California couples. Finances may be tight, emotions are running high and there is often a sense of wanting to get the process over with quickly. Unfortunately, in an attempt to control costs and to simplify matters, some individuals decide to not hire a divorce lawyer and to simply handle the matter themselves. While this occasionally works for some people, it can present significant problems for many. In fact, it may prove to be a big mistake.

One thing that people often don't realize is that while divorce can sometimes be a routine legal matter, it may also be a very complex one. In addition to the dissolution of a marriage, there are other factors to consider including property division and child custody. Ensuring that both parties are treated fairly during the process is not always easy. It can become more difficult if the divorce is being handled by nonprofessionals.

While it is perfectly legal to represent oneself in court, the court system is designed to be used by attorneys. People who opt to go it alone in divorce court will find themselves at a disadvantage, particularly if their spouse has an attorney. This can make it difficult for the unrepresented spouse to be treated fairly in the proceedings. It can also be difficult for a non-attorney to understand divorce laws. A family law attorney is often up to date with recent legal developments which may affect the outcome of the case.

People who are facing the end of a marriage may benefit from consulting with a divorce attorney. Legal counsel can often assist in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that can be presented to the court for its approval.

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