Are You “Entitled” To A Divorce Lawyer?

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

Often I get the question about whether or not a spouse should retain a divorce lawyer.   In Palm Beach County, it is not a requirement that one have a divorce lawyer to get a divorce.

In fact, many couples who cannot afford legal counsel have DIY divorces.  These are called pro se litigants by the courts.  They are spouses without divorce lawyers.   WHERE IT GETS TRICKY IS IF ONE PARTY HAS A DIVORCE LAWYER AND THE OTHER DOES NOT. When this happens, I often get the question, AM I ENTITLED TO COUNSEL?  The answer is no.

Divorce is a civil matter, unlike criminal law, and does not require the courts to appoint a lawyer for you.  Although divorce does have far reaching effects on one’s future, finances and family life, your life and liberty are not at risk, and so you are not entitled to appointed counsel even if your spouse has a lawyer.   It is highly suggested by me that you beg and borrow to hire a divorce lawyer if your spouse has one.  You may be awarded fees in your case later.  But you should not go it alone and up against your spouse’ lawyer.   Where the distinction lies is that in criminal cases, your liberty and life are at stake.   That is why in criminal cases, the court will appoint counsel for you if you cannot afford one.  Not so in divorce court, but maybe it should be.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Palm Beach County, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com for more information.

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