When it comes to divorce, many cringe at the thought of the legal fees associated with the process. Virtually everyone in Massachusetts has friends or family that has gone through the process and can attest that ending a marriage is not cheap. However, as with many financial decisions, the decision to attempt to save money at the outset could actually end up costing more in the end. This is especially true in instances in which child custody is an issue.
One way that problems can occur is in situations in which one's spouse has or makes considerably more money. Not only does this mean that he or she can afford to hire a good divorce attorney, it also means that the child custody and property division portions of the divorce process will be more complicated. In order to make a full assessment of all assets and debt, and to determine the proper manner to divide those holdings, experience and knowledge of state law is essential. In the same vein, child custody issues require knowledge of state law and local rules and procedures.
Another reason to consider hiring legal counsel to handle one's divorce is in cases in which a spouse is likely to become unreasonable, controlling or abusive during the divorce process. Dealing with the end of a marriage is stressful enough without having to manage the other party's emotional outbursts or manipulative behaviors. An attorney can act as a buffer between spouses, which can make the process move more swiftly.
For Massachusetts spouses who are considering moving forward with a divorce filing, the best course of action is to determine all available options. It is possible to file on one's own behalf or to hire the least expensive legal counsel available. However, it is important to keep in mind that the decisions made during the course of a divorce will have ramifications that last for many years to come. In regard to child custody, the remainder of the childhood of any shared children will be affected.
Source: Huffington Post, "Disparity Between Child Support and Custody Enforcement," Joseph E. Cordell, May 3, 2013