Divorce is rarely easy or pleasant. In most cases, trying to get divorced without an attorney is harder or has a worse outcome. Lawyers can be expensive, but not having one when you need one is potentially FAR more expensive.
Here's a brief answer to the headline question.
When You Need a Divorce Lawyer:
- When you have kids. Some of the worst post-divorce headaches come from disputes over the children. Child support needs to be calculated correctly and ordered precisely so that the obligation is clear and enforceable. Visitation/possession periods need to be clear and specific. General language won't be enforceable and vague language will lead to disputes.
- When one spouse is domineering. That can be physically, emotionally, or financially. Where one spouse can demand and get whatever he or she wants, the other spouse needs a lawyer to help equalize the power in the negotiations.
- When there are assets or liabilities. Normally, there will be assets and liabilities that have to be divided between the parties. The division is not automatically 50-50. It can significantly favor one party over the other if there is a big difference in income or income earning potential, or if a party has health issues, or if any of a number of other factors exist. Plus, some assets are overlooked if the parties don't have legal experience or understand how the law applies to their situation.
- When you have a very short marriage.
- When there are no assets, liabilities or children.
The bottom line is that you almost always need a divorce lawyer, if you want to get things done right.
The answer to the title question is -- Yes!