This guest post is courtesy of Kelso’s the Law Firm and freelance writer Kandace Heller.
Although it is not always recommended by legal professionals, there are some instances when you do not need the help of a lawyer, such as simple document preparation and signing simple leases and purchase orders. For many other instances having a lawyer is necessary, particularly if the court system is involved in any way. Here are five major legal issues that you should not try to handle without the aid of a lawyer.
Legal Issue # 1: Bankruptcy
Some people believe that bankruptcy is a simple process, but there are many details involved. You must have all your forms, in proper format, filed with the court. All documentation regarding income, assets, and debt must be submitted. In addition, all information about creditors and accounts must also be submitted. Regardless of which type of bankruptcy you need, it is hard to understand what the laws are where you live. An experienced attorney does.
Legal Issue # 2: Divorce
A quick search on the Internet gives you access to hundreds of divorce documents that encourage consumers to go through the process on their own. This is a bad idea unless you have only been married a few months and have no shared debts, assets, or children. Often, the forms you will find online are not in the format required by your court and are not accepted. They also are not tailored to your specific needs. Divorces handled by qualified lawyers address division of property, assets, and debts. Child custody, child support, and spousal support issues are also addressed. In court, it helps to have an attorney fighting for your best interests. You don’t want to end up losing your home or custody of your children because you tried to go to court representing yourself.
Legal Issues # 3: Child Custody Disputes
Whenever there are children involved, it is extremely unwise to try and represent yourself. You can get lost in procedures and legal terminology, only ending up worse than when you started. In many cases, the judge orders legal representation for the children called a guardian ad litem, but their purpose is to speak for the children. A lawyer experienced in Family Law can help prevent a disaster.
Legal Issue # 4: Criminal Charges
In criminal cases, it is necessary to have a lawyer. It is their job to represent you and ensure you get the defense you are entitled to by law. The prosecution’s job is to prove guilt, and without legal representation you can easily get into a heap of trouble.
Legal Issue # 5: Wills and Estate Planning
Some people believe that writing or typing out their final wishes is sufficient enough. This is wrong. Wills are supposed to be legal documents that are filed with a court and must follow a specific format. There are many things a will should address that only a lawyer would know about. Anything else can be contested and the court gets to decide what happens.
It is always best to follow the safe path and hire a lawyer, even if it is only for legal document preparation. There can be way too much at stake to take a chance and try to handle it on your own. It may not always be the less expensive option, but it is often the smartest one and can save you time and money in the long run.