Top Three Excuses!
In reverse order of popularity, here are the top three excuses I’ve heard in my own family law practice, why people choose not to get legal advice, when separating or divorcing.
Why Rock the Boat?
“Things are really going ok with my ex, and I don’t want to do anything to rock the boat.”
Heck, sounds pretty damn reasonable. After all, who needs, or wants, the grief and stress of dealing with a pissed-off ex.
Unfortunately, when things are going well with your ex is EXACTLY the time you need to get some good legal advice. Hopefully, you are both in a positive enough mood to negotiate reasonable settlement terms leading to a Separation Agreement.
If you don’t take advantage of this limited window of opportunity I can virtually guarantee that it will rapidly slam shut when circumstances change, as they invariably will. Often, when one, or the other party, establishes a new relationship, is circumstance enough to torpedo any good will.
My Ex Told Me Not To!
Surprisingly, for two people who couldn’t get along well enough to save their lives, or their marriage, following your ex’s recommendation not to get legal advice is actually not that uncommon.
But here’s likely the reason why. Your ex has already obtained their own legal advice, and he or she wants the current favorable financial status quo to remain as is, for as long as possible. The last thing they want you to know is that you have legal rights and interests which could change everything. Hearing your ex tell you not to get legal advice is EXACTLY the time you need to understand, and protect, your legal rights.
Can’t Afford It!
Bar none, the number one excuse for not getting legal advice or assistance is that it’s just too damn expensive!
Can’t argue with the fact that it can be, but there are options to manage your legal costs. Starting with a consultation is a great idea. Most family lawyers, like myself, offer a nominal cost initial consultation. In my experience a consultation to learn your rights and obligations is a far more effective and less costly alternative than commencing a court action.
In the absence of a violent or abusive family dynamic, following a consultation, I also encourage clients, whenever possible, to attempt to discuss matters between themselves. But it’s essential that the discussion have a certain focus, and in my practice I provide my clients with a checklist of issues that need to be addressed.
Hopefully, if the parties can settle all or most issues, all that’s needed is the preparation of an appropriate Separation Agreement.
So there really aren’t any good excuses not to get legal advice if you’re separating or divorcing!