When you’re getting divorced, money is tight. Money is so tight, that it seems difficult (if not impossible) to afford to pay for an attorney to represent each of you. After all, don’t you really only need one attorney to draw up a separation agreement?
If you don’t actually want the divorce, it may be hard to take the initiative to retain an attorney. I’ve heard many women say, “If he wants the divorce so badly, let him pay for it.” While it’s true that he can retain an attorney to draw up a separation agreement, you can sign it and he can move forward with the divorce without you ever having to pay a dime in legal fees, this probably isn’t the best route to go.
An attorney is hired to represent the interests of one person, and one person only. If your husband hires that attorney, it is not the attorney’s job to worry about you, your children, or any other obligations that you may have now or after the final divorce decree is entered. It is the attorney’s job to draft the best agreement for your husband that he can, and hope that you sign. The more things you end up giving up and his client ends up getting, the better he has done.
If you choose not to hire your own attorney, you should definitely beware the agreement that your husband’s attorney presents you with. You can be sure that this agreement is not representative of what your best interests are. If you really don’t want to hire an attorney, it can still be a good idea to pay an attorney for an hour or two to review the agreement, advise you briefly of your rights, and give you a few pointers for how to negotiate with your husband’s attorney. Remember that a separation agreement is usually achieved after a whole lot of haggling, and you definitely don’t want to accept the first offer.
You’re sad about the breakdown of your marriage now, but that doesn’t mean that you should make the whole situation sadder by making it harder on yourself later.