These days you can research anything on the Internet, from crocheting a hat to solving a quadratic equation. With the enormous amount of information available online, many people have turned to do-it-yourself remedies instead of hiring professionals. People are doing this with their health, decorating, and even divorce. Many people are choosing to represent themselves in divorce proceedings, usually after researching the undertaking online or talking to a divorced friend, family member, or acquaintance. Unfortunately, many who decide to handle this proceeding alone quickly become overwhelmed with the legal aspects of divorce. Those who chose to represent themselves are disadvantaged in that they are often unaware of the legal jargon associated with divorce, unprepared to handle aggressive lawyers, and uninformed on how to deal with issues that are connected with the divorce (like child custody). Fortunately, DIYers can hire lawyers at several stages of their divorce, allowing them to remedy their situation with professional advice and representation.
Those who have decided to represent themselves but have become overwhelmed sometimes think that it is too late for them to hire a divorce attorney. In most cases, however, this is untrue. There are many steps in a divorce and many places where an attorney can be hired. If you are going to be petitioning for divorce, the best time in the process to hire an attorney is before starting any of the steps in the divorce proceeding. At this time, the divorce attorney can advise you on the upcoming process and help you fill out the petition for divorce. If you are the respondent, not the petitioner, the best time to hire a divorce attorney is when you are served the petition of divorce. In both of these situations, hiring an attorney as early as feasible is a great decision that will help you get the best service possible.
After the petition is filed and the respondent has responded, there is a mandatory waiting period. In Utah, this waiting period is 90 days, but it can vary state-to-state. At this point, contested issues will be handled in mediation. This is also a great time to hire an attorney. Help through the mediation process is invaluable because emotions can run high and discussions can get confusing. After mediation, there will be pre-trial steps like child custody evaluations and conferences. Again, these are great places to hire an attorney. Having a lawyer to guide you through these discussions is helpful. Following the pre-trial steps, the case will go to court and a divorce decree will be issued, not issued, or the trial will be continued.
At any of these steps along the way, you can hire a divorce attorney. Even when the divorce decree has been issued, you can file an appeal within 30 days and hire an attorney for that process. The only time in the divorce proceeding when it is too late to hire an attorney is 30 days after the divorce decree. Thus, even adamant do-it-yourself-ers can get professional legal help at any step, even if they began the divorce proceedings representing themselves.