Going through a divorce can be highly stressful for you and your family. There are important decisions to be made about division of assets, child custody, and spousal support, among many others. You will likely have many questions about the divorce process, known as dissolution in Oregon. You may wonder whether in the 21st century, with so much information available online, you even need to hire a lawyer at all. If you have children, real property, retirement benefits, or if your divorce is contested from the start, you should seriously consider hiring an attorney. If you do decide to hire an attorney, there are a number of reasons why you should do so early in the dissolution process. From knowing your options from the start, ensuring that your interests are protected early, avoiding unnecessary delay, and giving you important peace of mind, here are my top five reasons to hire a divorce attorney early in the process:
It is important to understand that property divisions are final in Oregon. Unlike child custody, spousal support, and child support, which can be modified after a divorce order has been entered, a property division can only be revisited if you discover that an asset or liability was omitted (either accidentally or intentionally) from the original judgment. This means that you need to get it right the first time, and the best way to do that is with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney.
There are many possible paths that an Oregon divorce can take, including a collaborative process, which provides an alternative to litigation. Not all divorces end up in court. An attorney can help you explore your options and advise you on the advantages and disadvantages of each approach for your particular circumstances, allowing you to make an informed decision as to what is best for you and your family. Knowledge is power, and an experienced attorney can provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant information you need to proceed in your divorce with confidence.
While some divorces are uncontested and/or amiable, circumstances can change and it is important to be sure that your interests are protected before things turn ugly or complicated. This is especially true if you are concerned that your spouse may be a danger to you or your children or you believe that your spouse is hiding money or transferring joint assets out of your control. Hiring an attorney early in the process will empower you to take whatever legal action is necessary to protect your interests before it is too late.
If you involve an attorney early in the process, you and your spouse may be able to work together with your respective lawyers to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. Because an experienced divorce attorney knows the law, can advise you on what constitutes a fair settlement for you, and will use negotiating skills (while keeping emotions out of the process), there is a better chance you and your spouse will be able to reach a compromise without having to drag out the process.
Moreover, not only can a knowledgeable attorney eliminate the noise that can come from too much information, emotion, and distraction, and cut to the chase, but experienced family law attorneys are also well-acquainted with the courts and the other players involved (business valuation experts, social workers, etc.), and can navigate the sometimes complicated process with efficiency and purpose.
Having an attorney in your corner from the beginning of what can be a difficult and painful process can go a long way to reducing stress and giving you peace of mind. Moreover, a communicative and responsive attorney will alleviate the uncertainty you are likely to experience when going through a divorce. While you take care of yourself and your family, your attorney will take care of protecting your interests and advocating on your behalf. If necessary your attorney can act as an important buffer between you and the other side, reducing your stress level during negotiations and court appearances and preventing your emotions from getting in the way and potentially sabotaging your case.
If you are going through a divorce and are considering hiring an attorney, we welcome you to contact Litowich Law. Based in Salem, we serve clients throughout Oregon and are dedicated to helping you make well-informed decisions for your family’s future.