What to Expect If Your Spouse Chooses Not to Hire an Attorney During Your Divorce

Whether it’s for personal reasons or to save money, some people simply decide not to hire an attorney for their New Mexico divorce. If your spouse chooses this route for your divorce and decides to handle all the legal aspects of the divorce on his or her own, you need to know what to expect and how this could impact your case.

It’s Likely to Take Longer

When your spouse decides not to hire an attorney, he or she will act as his or her own legal representation, while you have an attorney to advise and speak for you as the case moves on. This means that your spouse and your attorney will pass information between them relating to the divorce. Naturally, in this situation, document signing and paperwork requirements can take longer because your spouse has to interpret those requirements and documents on his or her own. 

Unfortunately, it’s also more likely that he or she will fail to meet deadlines or file important papers incorrectly because your spouse does not have the knowledge and experience needed to do it the right way.

This is likely one of the most significant ways in which your spouse’s lack of an attorney will impact you directly. He or she will have to spend more time trying to figure out divorce laws and document important things than an attorney would, and this can delay the divorce process significantly and add confusion to the mix for everyone involved.

It May Mean Mistakes Will Have to Be Fixed

When your spouse doesn’t understand something fully, he or she will not have anyone to turn for legal advice outside of free resources. Free resources do their best in some cases, but your spouse’s use of them could possibly lead to misunderstandings and ultimately more work for you and your own attorney. On top of that, if your spouse wants to make changes to any of the agreements that have been proposed, he or she will have a tougher time communicating those changes effectively.

Your Attorney Can’t Offer Your Spouse Help

It’s important to keep in mind that while your spouse may try to ask your attorney for some legal advice, your attorney will never provide it, even if it could speed the case up. There should not be any conflict of interest in a divorce case, so one attorney can’t represent both spouses in the same case, even if both spouses would be okay with that. At the same time, you should not ask or expect your attorney to help your spouse, even if you believe it would make the divorce move faster.

Court Appearances May Become Frustrating

For court appearances, your attorney will speak on your behalf. Your spouse, however, will have to speak on his or her own. Your attorney will prepare you to go to court, telling you what you can expect and when you will be asked to speak (which is generally only when you are asked something directly by the judge). Your spouse will not receive the same preparation beforehand and will be their own spokesperson throughout the entire process.

It’s possible that hearing your spouse talking in court while you remain silent most of the time can become frustrating because you feel that you have to respond to what he or she is saying and it is as if you have less control. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you have a skilled and experienced attorney on your side to defend your rights and advocate on your behalf, while your spouse has to do it all on his or her own. In this situation, your spouse is the person who has a disadvantage.