Mark Wortman in the Missouri Divorce and Family Law Blog supplies multiple answers the question, why do you need a lawyer.
Among the reasons given are:
- The attorney can take much of the burden off of the litigant, reduce the length of the case, and hopefully negotiate a settlement where everyone wins and nobody goes to court.
- You wouldn't perform your own surgery, why would you try to take on the court by yourself. Divorce lawyers are here for a reason.
- Whatever your argument, the judge has heard it before. The attorney knows how to pick the battles and keep you on the judges good side.
- Family law is not like other areas of the law. A skilled negotiator is superior to a combative lawyer or litigant who wants to fight about everything.
Mark diplomatically stops short of quoting the old adage that anyone who attempts to represent himself in court has a fool for a client. Though this expression has become a cliché, it is also true.
You should retain a divorce lawyer because he is expert and knowledgeable in the field. As a self represented litigant, you may not understand the relative strengths or weaknesses of your case, the limits of your rights or the full extent of your liabilities.
To put it in context, would you, as a pro se litigant, know how to distribute a professional license or an educational degree?
Moreover, the law is ever changing. The practitioner through participation in professional associations, continuing legal education and daily practice, keeps abreast of the evolving case law and statutory changes.
Finally, legal representation brings objectivity to a case. As a litigant, you may be simply too close to the litigation to make reasoned business-like decisions. A good practitioner will set out options and assess the risks of litigation.
In the end, most litigants want a fair resolution with an end to the divorce litigation – a good attorney will lead you there.