Should I Hire a Divorce Lawyer for My Arizona Divorce?
If you are facing the dissolution of a marriage in the state of Arizona, you are probably experiencing a lot of conflicting feelings. These may include sadness, despair, and even relief and hopefulness. One thing that probably concerns you regarding divorce is the legal fees that you are likely to incur. You might even be thinking of representing yourself in a divorce in Arizona, rather than hiring an attorney. We at Arizona Family Law Firm would like to help you through this tumultuous time and represent you in court so that you can achieve the best outcome in your divorce proceedings in Arizona.
Does The Law Require Me to Have an Attorney Represent Me in My Divorce?
Under Arizona law, you do not have to be represented by an attorney in order to file for or obtain a divorce. If you do not hire an attorney, however, the court will still hold you to the same standards, rules and procedures as a licensed attorney. This means that you must be knowledgeable of the procedural laws and rules applicable to your divorce case. If you do not follow these rules, you can be sanctioned by the court. Court staff are not allowed to give you legal advice. So, not hiring an attorney to handle your divorce can become a costly, time-wasting proposition in Arizona.
What Potential Mistakes Could I Make by Representing Myself in a Divorce Proceeding in Arizona?
There are many places where you can go wrong if you are representing yourself in your Arizona divorce proceeding. They include:
- Failing to get the information you need from the other party or from a third party. Under the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, you have the right to discovery tools such as requests for production, interrogatories, subpoenas, and depositions. If you do not fully understand how to use these tools, you may not get the information you need to effectively represent yourself.
- Mishandling exhibits. Exhibits, which is evidence you use in your divorce proceeding to support, explain and win your case, must be admitted into evidence in the proper way, following strict rules. Exhibits must be disclosed to the opposing party before a court deadline, properly assembled and submitted to the court following deadlines, and properly admitted into evidence.
- Omitting important details. You are your own best witness in your divorce proceeding, and therefore should be telling your side of the story rather than wasting the court’s time calling witnesses or examining the other party.
- Not managing trial time well. The time for your trial is limited and regulated by the court. If you are not an attorney, you are not experienced in telling your story in the allotted amount of time. You must decide what is important and what is not in telling your story in order to make the most of your time.
- Trying to avoid settlement. Many times, a judge will encourage the parties in a divorce proceeding to have a settlement meeting. Judges like settlements, as they solve the dispute outside of the courtroom, saving the court’s time. An attempt to settle is required by the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure and should therefore not be avoided.
If you are questioning whether or not you should represent yourself in a divorce trial, you should consider contacting our family law firm instead. The experienced family lawyers at Arizona Family Law Firm are ready and willing to help you in your divorce proceeding. Using our representation, you can be sure that you will achieve the best possible outcome and the fairest settlement in your divorce case. Contact us today!