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What Happens if My Spouse Does Not Hire an Attorney in a North Carolina Divorce?

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Dec 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

In a typical North Carolina divorce case, each spouse hires their own attorney to represent them. However, in some instances, one spouse chooses not to hire an attorney. This may be for financial or personal reasons. Divorce can be a slow and frustrating process even under the best circumstances, but when one party does not have an attorney to represent them, the process can be even more frustrating. If you are in the process of divorce and your spouse has chosen not to hire an attorney, you should know what to expect.

No Divorce Attorney in North Carolina = Slower Process

When your spouse chooses not to hire an attorney, the divorce process may take longer. Your attorney has the experience necessary to effectively and efficiently prepare legal documents and interpret those from the other party, but your spouse will have to do all of the interpreting themselves and prepare their own documents to file with the court.

Access to free legal resources in North Carolina may be limited or your spouse may encounter long wait times. The wait times may be longer than the filing deadlines set by the court. This means your spouse may have to file without accessing the free resources or else ask the court for an extension. Without a good understanding of the legal process, your spouse may file unnecessary documents with the court or miss important deadlines.

No Divorce Attorney in North Carolina = More Mistakes

Without an attorney to prepare legal documents for them, your spouse could file divorce paperwork with serious mistakes in it. This may result in your attorney filing additional documents to communicate your proposed agreements to the court. When your spouse disagrees with any proposed agreements, he or she may not be able to effectively communicate the disagreement to the court or to your attorney.

Although your spouse will directly communicate with your attorney through the divorce process, remember that your attorney represents you and your best interests, so your attorney is not able to assist your spouse in preparing divorce documents. Your spouse must hire a separate attorney or access free legal resources for guidance.

No Divorce Attorney in North Carolina = Frustration in Court

Even under the best circumstances, sharing a courtroom with your spouse during a divorce hearing can be uncomfortable and frustrating. When you and your spouse both have attorneys, the attorneys do most of the talking in court. When your spouse does not have an attorney, he or she speaks for him or herself in court. This can be frustrating, especially when information you do not agree with is presented. You will have to sit silently and allow your attorney to speak for you unless the judge asks you a direct question.

Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina

Divorce is emotionally charged even under the best circumstances, but when your spouse chooses not to hire a divorce attorney -- whether for financial or personal reasons -- tempers can flare as frustrations rise. The dedicated divorce attorneys at Jerkins Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, can protect your best interests in your divorce and guide you through the court process even if your spouse is representing hi or herself. Contact our office today.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.

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