Contrary to popular thought, a family law lawyer is not absolutely necessary in divorce cases. There are times when a former couple can come to an agreement on their own, but this is rare. If you are going through a divorce and are unsure about how to proceed, here are four signs you need to talk to a lawyer.

The Situation is Complicated

Some divorces are straightforward. This is easy when both parties simply want to dissolve the marriage and move forward like normal. Other cases are far more complicated. Things tend to get complicated when there is a lot of money at stake or children. If you have child custody to work out or significant assets that need to be sorted through, you’ll definitely want a lawyer by your side. Otherwise, you may end up getting the short end of the stick when it comes down to negotiations and settlements.

The paperwork for filing for divorce and splitting assets can also be complicated, even when the separation is completely amicable. A divorce lawyer can help ensure that all paperwork gets filed correctly the first time. Incorrect paperwork can cause problems down the road, such as with your taxes.

Abuse or Other Illegal Behavior

Some relationships end because one or both of the parties participated in toxic behavior, such as drugs or physical abuse. This behavior is criminal and should be treated as such. You will need a lawyer to help clarify exactly what you went through. Also, the judge may order the other party to get help in the form of anger management or rehab. In severe cases, you may even consider calling the police on your ex for their actions. This will not only protect you but also protect other people.

Your Ex Has Gotten a Lawyer

If your ex has gotten a lawyer already, it's probably best for you to lawyer up as well to put you on an even plane. You don't want to be the only one without a family law lawyer when you go before the judge. It can appear that you aren't taking the case as seriously as your ex, putting you at a distinct disadvantage. Plus, the lawyer will be able to help teach your ex what to do and say to put themselves in a more favorable position.

You Don't Trust Your Ex

Not all divorces are amicable. In fact, most involve high emotions. When someone feels slighted by their ex, they may want to get revenge in the courtroom. If your ex is the manipulative type or someone who blames you for the divorce, it's best to get a lawyer to minimize the damage. Even if your ex acts calm about it most of the time, any suspicion on your part is worth following up on with some backup.

Divorce is not fun. Many people want to get it over with without getting things too complicated. While getting a lawyer may seem like an unnecessary expense, there are situations where it's extremely helpful. Your lawyer can help you put everything behind you with the best agreement possible.

Author's Bio: 

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.