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Do I need an attorney for an uncontested case?

Except for the Simple Divorce, it is hard to think of a situation where a party would not benefit from the advice of an attorney.  The legal system is adversarial in nature.  It is assumed that a party will get the best results by having his or her own advocate working exclusively for them.

One attorney can help put into effect the agreement of an estranged couple; however, the couple must  understand that the attorney has been retained by and represents just one of the parties.  The other party must be advised of this and encouraged to seek his or her own legal counsel.

Before an Agreement is approved by a Court, the Court will question the parties to make sure that they fully understand their Agreement and are entering into it freely and voluntarily; that their agreement was not gained through threats; that their Agreement is fair and equitable and that the parties understand that if the Agreement is approved by the Court, it will become a binding Order.  The only issues in a Family Court Order that can be modified later deal with the welfare of minor children.  Issues regarding alimony or equitable division generally cannot be modified later.

If a party appears without the benefit of an attorney, the Court will ask if that person wants to consult with an attorney before the Agreement is approved.  There are enough factors relevant to even the simplest legal question that it is usually advisable to consult with an attorney before your legal responsibilities are permanently set. 




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