Hiring an attorney for your divorce is advised. While some divorces can be simple, divorcees more often than not discover during litigation there are more problems in their divorce than they initially thought. Issues such as children, their house, and the division of assets, for example, are far more complex and emotionally taxing than they had hoped. An attorney can help you navigate these matters efficiently so you can spend time on the non-legal aspects of your divorce.
Absolutely! Under Pennsylvania law, parties in a divorce are able to proceed pro se — that is, without an attorney — if they wish. There are significant drawbacks to doing so, however. Studies have shown that spouses filing for divorce without an attorney often fail to efficiently proceed with the divorce and can remain in legal proceedings for months, if not years. Further, the other aspects of a divorce, such as custody, are not simple matters. You are at greater risk of an unfavorable ruling if you are not represented by an attorney.
Yes! Parties can retain counsel for only a part of their divorce rather than the entire divorce if you wish. You and your attorney will need to discuss this and specify in your fee agreement what portion of the divorce they will represent you on.
Typically, attorneys in Pennsylvania are retained under one of three fee arrangements. The arrangements can be per hour, a contingency fee, or a flat fee. Under Pennsylvania law, however, attorneys representing clients in domestic relations cases are not permitted to be retained under a contingency fee. As such, if you have a family law issue in Pennsylvania your options are either per hour or a flat fee.
No! Parties often resolve their divorce outside of court. When this occurs, they are permitted to draft a proposed order and submit it for court approval. Should they agree to the provisions, that proposed order will be turned into an order and no hearing will be necessary. Any remaining issues not covered by the agreement can either be resolved outside of court or discussed at a conference or conciliation before going to hearing.
No! Under Pennsylvania law, parties are permitted to modify an order. Whether your issue involves support, custody, or a different family law issue, you can seek to have the existing order changed. You are not guaranteed to have your request granted, but an attorney can greatly improve the odds it does get approved.
No! Temporary orders are granted so that parties have some legal assistance while their case is pending. The temporary order may not be the final order. Your attorney can help explain to the court why the temporary order is not the optimal resolution to your case.