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Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?

July 15, 2016 Our Blog

Many people wonder whether they need a lawyer in order to get divorced. A person is free to represent themselves in a divorce, but it usually is not a good idea. A lawyer has the knowledge and experienced to ensure that your divorce is done properly in accordance with the law. Many who represent themselves fail to follow the proper procedures and may unknowingly waive important rights.

A person who represents themselves is held to the same standard as an attorney. This means that you will not be given any leeway from the court merely because you do not have an attorney. If your spouse is represented by a lawyer, it is unlikely that the lawyer will give you any special treatment if you represent yourself.

In a divorce, there are specific rules, procedures and laws that apply. If you are not familiar with these rules, procedures and laws, you will have a difficult time throughout the process. If you fail to follow the rules, procedures and laws associated with divorce, then you may be subject to sanctions from the court or even waiver of certain rights.

Divorce not only involves the dissolution of a marriage, but also the division of property and debts. The manner in which property and debts are divided is subject to legal standards that can be somewhat complicated. An experienced divorce lawyer will be well familiar with the applicable laws regarding property and debt division. They will help ensure that the process is completed appropriately and that you are treated fairly in that division. A lawyer will help ensure that the property and debt division is thorough and does not exclude important information.

In a divorce, it is important that you have as much information as possible. Sometimes, one spouse withholds information that is important to the case. A divorce attorney will know how the collect the necessary information, even when your spouse attempts to conceal the information or play games. An attorney can make sure the divorce is completed appropriately and that the other party plays by the rules.

In many divorces, child custody is also an issue. Child custody disputes can invoke conflict and emotion, so it is important to have an attorney to serve as a legal advocate who will fight for your position. An attorney will know what factors the court considers in determining custody and can present the necessary information to the court. They will be familiar with various resources that are available to assist with your case.

In some cases, a spouse may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance, more commonly known as alimony. In order to receive alimony, certain factors must be present. A divorce attorney will be able to advise you as to whether alimony may be pursued in your situation. If your case does qualify for alimony, they will argue on your behalf for an appropriate amount.

By working with a divorce attorney, you will better protect your rights and will be less likely to run into technical issues with your case. An attorney will be able to provide you with legal advice so you will be able to make informed decisions. If your case requires court hearings, an attorney will argue on your behalf and present your evidence to the court.

If you are contemplating divorce or have already involved in a pending divorce, contact a divorce lawyer for advice and legal representation. A divorce attorney will provide you with greater peace of mind and assurance that your right are being protected. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to help you understand the process.

How can I make him move out after the divorce?

If your marriage simply isn’t working anymore – it’s typical to want to make you spouse move out – before, during, or after the divorce. However, until the parties actually separate legally, Family Courts don’t have the power to determine custody, possession of the house, or asset distributions. In some cases, the court can order one spouse to leave. In the absence of a separation agreement, here are some smart things you should. First, if you want the house – it’s important you not leave the house. The party who moves out of the house – is the one who weakens his, or her, claims.

If you are the parent, and want custody of the kids, we highly recommend you stay in the house. If you leave, you’ll be accused of disrupting the kid’s lives. Finally – if you leave, you have a harder time accusing the other party of being at fault. It’s quite common for wives to ask their husbands to life. But if the house is under the husbands name – and he is financially responsible for paying for the house, it will behoove him to stay in the house until there is a separation agreement in place. Typically, until there is a separation agreement, or finalized divorce court order, it makes no sense for the other spouse to leave. In most cases, his/her attorney – will advise him of the same thing – because it’s so obvious. Unless there’s a separation or divorce agreement in place, you will have a hard time forcing the other spouse to leave. Having said that, it’s possible to force him/her to leave. Below are some ways.

Prove Domestic Abuse

If you can prove there’s evidence of domestic abuse, or violence, then you can be granted possession of the martial home. Upon finding evidence of domestic abuse, the court can and probably will grant the abused spouse possession of the residence. The main reason you should consider this, is because it’s easier to prove it – for the sake of family court, vs criminal court – and it can get you possession of the house. Hearings for this, have to be set relatively soon after filing the petition. In an emergency situation, it can be set within 24 hours. In addition to getting possession of the house, you can also get spousal and child support, while this is ongoing. Typically, Domestic Abuse orders are efficient ways to get a spouse out of the house. If you try to instigate a fight, in order to call the police and setup a domestic abuse proceeding – it could backfire against you. If your spouse is recording your conversation with him, at your house, and shows this recording in court – he can use it against you, and discredit you.

Finalize your agreement and then lock the spouse out

Until your divorce is finalized, or the separation agreement is finalized, the court cannot entertain kicking one of the spouses out. If you want to get your spouse out of the house, one of the things you can do is change the locks on the house. In some cases, the court may grant you the motion to prevent locked-out spouse from entering the house. If the other spouse calls the police, you need to be prepared to tell the police why you changed the locks, and be able to prove it via a judge court order, or some other legal document. If it looks to the police you kicked out the spouse illegally, you could be in danger.

Can he keep my personal things until after our divorce is settled?

When you’re going through a divorce and you are the one who leaves the home that you and your spouse have shared, you might have to move in with someone or find a smaller home that you can afford. There are likely personal belongings that you left behind at the other home that you would like to get back. It’s best not to try to go to the home to get your personal belongings until the divorce proceedings have been settled or unless you have an officer with you while you get what’s yours.

Once the divorce is settled, each side will get a part of the assets. Any separate funds will be given to the appropriate person, and any personal property will be given to the rightful owner. Your spouse cannot legally keep your personal belongings even if the divorce has not been settled. You might have to show that the items are yours, but he cannot keep them in the home if you want them back. If you know that you or the other party will file for divorce, you need to complete a property inventory so that you have a list of the items that are yours, the items that belong to the spouse and the items that you share. This will make things a bit easier when you go to court and decide who gets the belongings in the home.

You need to determine exactly what is joint property and what is sole property, including any finances, stocks, insurance or other similar assets. Sole property is usually the property that each person had before entering into the marriage. Joint property, or shared property, is usually what is purchased after marriage. If finances are put together, then it could be considered joint property and divided during the divorce settlement.

If there isn’t any kind of proof that an item is yours or if there is any kind of dispute about who the item belongs to, then there is a possibility that the item will need to remain in the home until a solution can be reached. However, if the property is obviously yours or you are entitled to the property, then it can be taken from the home. An example would be furniture that is purchased using money that both of you had in an account. Both of you would need to show where the money came from to obtain the furniture, such as a receipt or a canceled check. Most of the time, couples can reach an agreement without any kind of argument involved regarding furniture and similar items.

According to the Spodek Law Group, as long as there isn’t any question about the property being yours, then you can usually get the property at any time. You should try to take as much as you can when you initially leave so that you don’t need to go back to the home. If you have large pieces of furniture that you need to remove, then it’s a good decision to arrange for someone to help you get your belongings at the same time instead of trying to find someone at a later time. These tactics will help to prevent items from being sold if your spouse doesn’t want them in the home or from being thrown away. Try to find a time when you can go to the home to look through items alone instead of with your spouse present, especially if there is a possibility that there will be a disagreement. If this isn’t an option, then consider getting an outside party to sit in the home while you go through your belongings so that you can get everything that is yours at one time.

Can I still get divorced after being separated for over ten years?

If you and your spouse have been legally separated for a long period of time, you might want to know what rights you have. Are you and your spouse still legally married? What would happen if you tried to marry another person? Can you still divorce your spouse even if you haven’t seen them in a long period of time?

The answers to all of these questions vary widely depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the laws about divorce and legal separation are slightly different in each state. Some states don’t allow legal separation at all.

There are a number of different details to consider when wondering about your rights after a long period of separation.

Informally Separated

Separations aren’t always done through a court agreement. An informal separation is one way couples may choose to stop living together. When a couple separates informally, the court isn’t involved. There are no legally binding terms for their conduct, finances, or custody arrangements of any children. The most documentation there is might be a written agreement signed by your spouse and you.

If your separation is informal, there are no barriers holding you back from getting a divorce. To begin the divorce proceedings, all you need to do is file appropriate paperwork in the appropriate jurisdiction. Your best bet is to have an experienced divorce attorney help you through the process. They can make sure all protocols are followed and that the divorce is negotiated fairly.

Legally Separated

Legal separation occurs when the court defines the terms of the separation. The couple’s finances, custody arrangements, and other details are worked out in this agreement. With a legal separation, if one party violates the terms of the agreement, there will be legal consequences.

Legally separated people are also free to pursue divorces, regardless of whether it’s been a decade. Two options may be available depending on your state’s laws.

Some states let you convert your current separation into a divorce. This means that your current separation terms will form the groundwork of your divorce case. You’ll need to file specific documents to convert the case from separation to divorce.

Other states don’t allow the conversion of a separation into divorce. Instead, you need to file a separate divorce case. Again, you should have an experienced attorney who can walk you through all the steps necessary to a successful divorce proceeding.

Limited Term of Separation

There are some states whose legal separation laws include a time period. Once the separation time period is up, the couple must either pursue a divorce, or the legal separation agreement will be terminated. One of the most common time frames is two years.

Termination of Marriage

If your legal separation has been held in place for ten years, you might have only one step available to you. The marriage must be terminated. Any issues related to your marriage were probably addressed during the initial separation proceedings. The paperwork for your separation agreement will make it easier to settle your divorce.

Keep in mind that proceeding with a divorce case requires filing a lot of paperwork in the correct amounts of time. divorce lawyers can help make sure all the forms are filled out and brought to the appropriate places.

Retaining Counsel

Every marriage is unique. Every couple has their own dynamic, private struggles, and way of communicating. No two divorces or separations will ever look exactly the same. But no matter what’s led up to your divorce, you need a divorce attorney to guide you through the legal process. Retaining counsel early means you’ll have a lawyer available if anything goes wrong; for example, if your estranged spouse becomes belligerent.

When you have your initial consultation with the lawyer, they’ll review the facts of your case. They’ll explain the options available to you, from divorce alternatives to ways of moving forward with a divorce. If you have any questions about the legal implications of your circumstances, the lawyer will be able to answer them. Divorce lawyers don’t generally charge a fee to have a basic consultation. You’ll only pay them if you decide to keep them on as your counsel.

Negotiating an Agreement

If you and your spouse have spent ten years apart, you’re probably near-strangers to each other. You might try communicating with them directly. However, if there are hostile feelings, you can have your lawyer communicate directly with your spouse’s lawyer. This helps to smooth the negotiation process.

Can we continue to live in the same house if we’re separated?

When a couple decides to divorce or separate, one of the biggest points of contention is often the question of who remains in the home. In many cases, both parties have their names on the house mortgage. They may have lived there for years and have an emotional attachment. That’s without accounting for the huge financial investment involved in home owning.

Many couples live in different places while they’re separated. In this case, “separation” is taken literally; each individual is living a separate life in a separate house. But some couples decide to live in their family home until after the finalization of the divorce. This is an undertaking that requires respect, open communication, and emotional maturity.

Separation and divorce laws vary from state to state. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the separation laws in your state. In some states, each person must live in a different residence for a certain period of time before the divorce is finalized.

Whether you can live together during a separation depends largely on your state. In certain states, such as North Carolina, each spouse must live apart from the other for at least one year before their divorce may be finalized. In other states, a divorce filed on “fault” grounds has no prior separation requirement.

If your state does allow spouses to share a home while legally separated, it’s very important that you establish both physical and emotional boundaries. You probably can’t share the entire house the way you used to. You’ll need to divide up the space. This means having separate bedrooms, separate entrances to the house, and other boundaries.

You’ll also need to have social boundaries. When a couple separates, the point is that each is living an individual life. You may not have decided if you’re going to get divorced. You may still be hoping to reconcile. But you need to take time to yourself, which means keeping distance from your spouse.

The two of you shouldn’t go to social functions as a couple. You should make sure that all your friends and family members are aware that you’re broken up. If there’s any potential situation in which you’d be forced or tempted to interact like a married couple, avoid it at all costs.

Reasons for Cohabitation

It can be an extreme challenge to share a home while you’re separated. If you had an amicable split, you may have an easier time making things work. But for the most part, couples who live together do so only because they have to. Without a joint income, it’s possible that neither spouse has the financial means to get a new place.

Another reason for cohabitation may be that children are involved. Neither parent wants to leave the house until a custody arrangement has been negotiated.

The majority of states divide marital assets on a 50/50 basis. This means that if one spouse keeps the house, they need to compensate the other spouse with assets worth half the cost of the house. They might relinquish their rights to the other spouse’s savings account, retirement account, or some other financial asset.

If the relationship is particularly contentious, a spouse might worry that moving out will let the other spouse say that desertion or abandonment was at fault for a divorce. The spouse with the highest income tends to be held responsible for making insurance and mortgage payments, at least until the details are finalized in the divorce settlement.

No matter whether the couple lives together or not, multiple factors affect the way property is divided. Some contributing factors are:

Making Living Together Work

It’s possible to live together successfully, provided there’s no physical or emotional threat to anyone. However, both parties need to be willing to work together. They need to mutually respect boundaries and allow each other to live their lives.

If there’s an issue with domestic violence, keeping the home should not be the victim’s first priority. Instead, they should try to get to a safe space as soon as possible. They should also get their children to a safe space.

For couples who decide to live together, it’s important to establish strict guidelines for behavior.

What If I Want to Stop the Divorce After Filing Papers

In certain situations, a person who files for divorce from their spouse changes their mind. They wish to withdraw their divorce petition. If you are the spouse who received the divorce papers rather than filing them, you may not have any power to stop the proceedings. It’s possible to contest a divorce, but in most cases, a court will not force an unwilling person to remain in a marriage.

Timing the Process

When you’re sure you want the divorce proceedings to stop, it’s important to keep in mind your request’s timing. A request to withdraw the paperwork will be viewed differently depending on how far along the proceedings are. If the court hasn’t yet issued a judgment, it’s relatively simple for the parties to make the process stop. Divorces are easier to stop in the earlier stages of the proceedings.

Notice Filing

If you are the spouse who initially served the divorce papers, you will need to go to the office of your court clerk. There, you’ll fill out a Notice of Revocation. Depending on which court you’re working in, the notice might have a slightly different name. The clerk is an expert in different paperwork and will direct you to the right document.

You must fill out ever portion of the document. When you return the document to the court clerk, they’ll receive an official stamp indicating they have been authorized.

If the divorce proceedings have been in the works for some time and are close to a conclusion, the court may decide that the other spouse must consent to stopping the divorce. Oftentimes, by this point in the process, the other spouse has come to terms with the divorce and does not wish to resume domestic life.

When the court requires spousal consent, you’ll need to serve a copy of your dismissal notice to your spouse. The court itself might serve the papers. Unlike with the initial divorce proceedings, the notice doesn’t need to be delivered by a sheriff or process server.

Potential Issues

There are a few potential complications that could arise when you’re trying to stop divorce proceedings.

One situation is when the other spouse wishes for the divorce proceedings to continue. If they do not want to remain married, the court will usually not force them to.

Another less common situation involves a spouse faking a stopped divorce to delay the proceedings. There are a number of reasons why someone might do this. It’s a manipulative tactic that tends to be highly frowned upon by the courts.

The third scenario occurs when there are reasonable safety concerns for one of the spouses. This tends to happen in cases where the couple has a history of domestic violence and abuse.

Fraudulent Divorce

Not only is filing a fraudulent motion to stop the divorce frowned upon, it’s illegal. If you pretend that you’ve filed a notice, or you file a notice but then open your divorce proceedings again, you might find yourself charged with criminal behavior. Divorce fraud is a crime that can end in criminal charges or being held in contempt of court.


There are some cases in which a spouse will answer a person’s divorce petition by presenting their own counterclaims. Counterclaims are petitions for divorce filed in response to the spousal petition to stop the proceedings. If a counterclaim is filed, it indicates that your spouse does not wish to be in the marriage any longer. This means that stopping the divorce by yourself may be impossible. Your spouse must file their own petition to stop your divorce proceedings, or your divorce will be finalized.

Treatment of Property

Either side might gain property throughout the proceeding. This property can then be considered a marriage asset. When couples were separated after or before the divorce petition, property division might be complicated. One spouse might want property to continue being separated from the marriage.

After Finalizing the Divorce

Sometimes people wait too long to stop divorce proceedings. This leads to increased complications. If your judge has already made a ruling in the case, it might be necessary to file more court motions to stop the judge’s ruling from going into effect.


Certain judges might require that a couple receive counseling or mediation before their divorce petition is granted. Mediation is a common method in divorces, as it tends to be much easier than going to trial.



Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

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Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

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Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

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