Yes. A lawyer is a terrific asset to have when seeking a divorce. You will improve your chances of getting the divorce you want and protect your rights at the same time.
Without a divorce attorney in your corner, you will count on your spouse (and his or her lawyer) to play fair—which is a risky gamble you cannot afford to take.
At Harris Law Firm, we have handled countless divorces and are available to consult with you about yours.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Identify What You Want
A divorce unwinds a couple’s finances and debts while determining who children should live with. As part of a divorce, a judge will need to:
- Determine child custody
- Award child support
- Divide marital property
- Divide marital debts
- Decide whether to grant one spouse alimony
Before you can effectively advocate for yourself, you need to understand what you want—which is more complicated than you think.
For example, you and your spouse might own a home, two retirement accounts, and some other small investments. Do you know which assets you want after the divorce? You might assume the home, but it could be located in a declining real estate market where the home’s value is tanking.
By contrast, the investments and retirement accounts might give you more flexibility and be worth more by the time you retire. Only a divorce lawyer can help you think through the different options presented in a divorce, so you should schedule a consultation with one right away.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Protect Your Right to Custody
Many of the most emotional fights in divorces involve children. In particular, each parent might want to be the custodial parent who the children live with for most of the school year. Although parents can agree to a custody plan, an agreement is not always possible.
If you see a custody fight on the horizon, you need to hire a Mississippi divorce lawyer. At the Harris Law Firm, we can help you build a case that giving you custody is in the children’s best interests. This analysis is very complicated, and you will need to pull together a considerable amount of evidence to support your position, such as:
- Evidence that shows a strong bond you have with your children
- Testimony from people who have seen you with your children
- Proof of your sound physical, mental, and emotional health
- Evidence that casts doubt on your spouse’s ability to parent
Custody fights are complicated. During a divorce, a judge will issue temporary custody orders that are good only until the divorce is finalized. However, a temporary custody order lays the groundwork for a permanent custody order, so you need to make a strong argument for custody right away.
A Divorce Attorney Will Help You Argue for Alimony
Alimony is a sum of money one spouse pays to the other to help lessen the economic unfairness of a divorce. For example, your spouse might be the main breadwinner. After a divorce, your living standards could collapse, which alimony can help prevent.
Judges used to award alimony only to wives for an indefinite amount of time. Today, though, courts approach alimony different. Both husbands and wives qualify. Also, alimony is not automatically awarded. Instead, a judge considers many factors, such as:
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- Each spouse’s assets and debts
- Each spouse’s age and health
- Each spouse’s expenses
- The length of the marriage
- Whether one spouse wasted assets
- Whether either spouse is at fault for the marriage ending
- Whether one spouse stayed at home with the children
A judge can order monthly alimony payments or a lump sum. Also, alimony can last for an indefinite amount of time or for a limited amount of time. Because judges have discretion whether to award alimony or not, you need a divorce lawyer in Mississippi who knows how to create a compelling argument in your favor.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Negotiate
Not all divorces need to be contentious. It is possible for couples to reach an agreement on the division of marital debts and property, as well as on child custody and alimony. You can write up a marital separation agreement, which a judge will review and most likely approve.
Unfortunately, many people are not good negotiators. You might be afraid of your spouse or full of so much anger that you cannot even share a room with your spouse. In these cases, you will need an experienced divorce lawyer who can approach the case objectively and reach out to the other side.
At the Harris Law Firm, many of our clients reach an agreement and file uncontested divorces, but a lot of negotiation and discussion went into the process beforehand. We are prepared to carefully negotiate an exit from your marriage that both you and your spouse can live with.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help You Save Money
Some people refuse to hire a divorce attorney because they do not want to spend the money. However, a lawyer can save you money in the long run:
- A lawyer can help you think about the tax consequences of taking certain property or debt as part of the divorce.
- A lawyer can help you argue that you need more child support than the state’s guidelines provides for.
- A lawyer can convince a judge to award you alimony.
- A lawyer can help you get the divorce you want to be done the first time, instead of spending more money later trying to undo a divorce decree (which is next to impossible).
- A lawyer provides peace of mind, which is priceless.
Call a Mississippi Divorce Lawyer Today
Many people hope that their divorces will be amicable, and there is no reason why you need to engage in a drawn-out battle with your spouse. Nevertheless, people should carefully consider all options, including the possibility that divorce will be hostile and contested.
At the Harris Law Firm, we have advised hundreds of people through the divorce process. Regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, you should speak to us. Please call 877-714-4171 or submit an online message.