As divorce lawyers in Austin, we see more and more people trying to represent themselves in a divorce. If you are representing yourself in a divorce, here are some signs that it may be time to hire a lawyer.

1. Your Spouse Hires a Lawyer

A divorce lawyer can only represent one spouse in a divorce. This means that your spouse’s lawyer will not give you any legal advice and will most certainly not act to protect your interests. Your spouse will benefit from getting legal advice about the divorce, and you will not. Even if you believe that you and your spouse have an agreement, your spouse hiring a lawyer may be a sign that you no longer have an agreement. Consulting with your own lawyer can help you evaluate the situation and better protect your interests. You don’t know what you don’t know – and consulting a lawyer before you reach an agreement can save you from costly mistakes.

2. There is a Court Hearing Coming Up

The courtroom is a complicated place. There are rules that control when a person can speak, which documents the judge can consider in his or her decision, , what testimony is admissible, and what you can and should request from the judge. When you are in court, a judge will make important decisions about your case. This could be about custody, child support, your property or all of the above. Going to court without a lawyer can forever hurt your interests, as a judge’s decision is extremely difficult to undo. You should hire an Austin divorce lawyer well in advance of a hearing in your case, so that the lawyer can be prepared for the unique circumstances of your case.

Practical Tip: Have a Lawyer Lined Up Even if you are not ready to hire a lawyer, interview one or more lawyers and find one you can hire if needed. Deadlines and hearings can come up quickly in a divorce. If you find a lawyer you like in advance, it is much easier to get them on board on short notice.

3. Your Spouse Has A Divorce Petition Delivered to You

If you ever receive legal paperwork from your spouse, it is time to consult with a lawyer. Once you receive this paperwork, you may have a limited time to respond. A divorce lawyer can review these papers for you and can provide guidance on important deadlines and next steps, including whether you need a lawyer to represent your interests.

4. Your Spouse Schedules Mediation

Mediation is a great way to resolve a divorce case. It gives the parties control over the outcome of their divorce and is almost always less expensive than going to court. However, once you sign a settlement agreement at mediation, it is nearly impossible to undo that agreement. Going into mediation with a divorce lawyer can help you better understand the process and the consequences of your agreement. Again, you don’t know what you don’t know. The mediator will not be giving you legal advice, so bring your own lawyer to mediation – especially if your spouse has a lawyer representing him or her.

How We Can Help

Scheduling an appointment with one of our divorce lawyers is just that – an appointment for more information. Meeting with a lawyer can provide you insight into how he or she can assist with your case and whether it is time to hire a lawyer. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.