Don’t Try This at Home: No-Fault Doesn’t Mean No-Lawyer
No-fault divorce finally took effect for New Yorkers in October of 2010. Some thought it would lessen the need for family law attorneys to represent the divorcing parties. However, as a divorce lawyer, I can attest that the need for professional representation remains as great as ever.
Just because you don’t have to prove adultery, abandonment or cruelty doesn’t mean critical issues don’t need to be resolved. According to the Wall Street Journal, all of the state's divorce woes were not cured by the NY no-fault divorce law.
Child custody and division of assets in particular involve legal complexity and high emotions. I certainly feel my clients’ frustrations after negotiations have broken down or worse yet, after they made a mistake by signing an agreement that gives up rights they never intended to lose. Even when an initial agreement is amicable, roadblocks can result in a much more contentious, time consuming and expensive process.
If you’re convinced that you have an amicable agreement to start with, that can save you the time and expense of litigation. Your attorney can button up the details in non-public, alternative ways such as mediation or collaboration. Your lawyer can make sure you haven’t missed any assets, from retirement accounts to air miles to enhanced earning potential.
An attorney can help you consider aspects that may not even be on your radar yet, like college tuition or shared social security benefits. An experienced attorney on hand to address all of your what ifs through every step of the process and beyond brings strong value to your divorce process.
Bottom line, hiring a skilled family law attorney is your smartest first step to ensure that your rights are fully and permanently protected.