In North Carolina, you are not required to hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce or other family law matters such as child custody and child support. Individuals who choose to represent themselves are referred to as acting pro se, which means acting on one’s own behalf.
There are a plethora of circumstances under which a person may believe that an attorney is not necessary during a divorce, including:
- a short-term marriage;
- no property was obtained during the marriage;
- no children were born or adopted;
- parties are in agreement about how to resolve all issues; or
- lack of funds to hire an attorney.
Although hiring an attorney is not essential, we recommend that you speak with an experienced family law attorney about your divorce before taking action or entering into a formal agreement like a Separation Agreement. North Carolina divorce laws are complex and can be confusing, especially if you are embroiled in an emotional split. Relying on online resources that offer forms for proceeding with a divorce without an attorney or directives from someone who has just undergone divorce is no substitute for consulting a qualified lawyer about your unique circumstance. There is no one-size-fits-all in divorce matters, and even the most basic of matters can benefit from sound legal advice. The entry of a judgment of divorce can have serious long-term consequences.
Having an attorney represent you can ensure that your interests are protected and that your claims are properly preserved. Experienced family law attorneys are able to consider things that a non-attorney might not, such as spousal support, property distribution, tax ramifications, life and health insurance benefits, and pensions. Additionally, experienced family law attorneys can ensure that all assets and debts of a marital estate are not only included in a settlement agreement or judgment of divorce but also are properly valued so that any agreement or division of property is fair and reasonable. In North Carolina, failure to properly follow procedures in asserting claims for spousal support or property distribution can result in a loss of entitlement to pursue those claims.
At Tharrington Smith, our team is stacked with attorneys who are board-certified as specialists in the field of family law. We are intrinsically familiar with the legal complexities of divorce as well as the emotional complexities that might cloud the judgment of the parties involved. Our attorneys are skilled and experienced in family law and can help protect your rights no matter how big or small you may feel your case is. Whether you need a simple divorce or require division of a complex marital estate, we will ensure your matter is handled effectively and efficiently. If you are considering divorce or already involved in divorce proceedings without the benefit of legal guidance, we urge you to call us for a confidential consultation today.