Do I Need an Attorney
for My Divorce?
More than 11,000 people filed for divorce in Kansas during the 2019 fiscal year. That means the lives of thousands of men, women, and children were irrevocably changed.
Change is difficult. Even under the very best circumstances, the changes caused by legal separation or divorce can be stressful, uncertain, and unsettling. Kansas law allows you to navigate the legal process of divorce on your own, but not without tremendous risk. A Kansas divorce attorney can help you not only get through the process but help you pursue a divorce agreement you can live with.
For more than 40 years, Jeffers Law Office has put problem-solving experience to work to help bring peace to the lives of clients in Overland Park and surrounding Kansas communities as they navigate the emotional and complex process of divorce.
Divorce in Kansas
A divorce in Kansas can be contested or uncontested. You can file for a fault or no-fault divorce. Divorce is required to end a traditional marriage or a common law marriage. In other words, the divorce laws in Kansas provide a full range of options.
Even if you can read and understand Kansas divorce statutes yourself, you are probably unaware of case law affecting the interpretation and application of those laws. You must follow all court rules and guidelines regarding the filing of pleadings, documentation of information, service of discovery, and responses to discovery requests. While the court allows individuals to represent themselves, it also expects those people to adhere to the same standards as attorneys.
Even in the most amicable divorces, tensions run high when addressing issues such as child custody and support, spousal support, and division of marital assets and debt. You may both agree that divorce is the best option, but the details involved with legally uncoupling often prove difficult and contentious.
If you are not overwhelmed by reading this section, you can likely imagine what is involved in representing yourself in divorce. Seeking legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney is a sound investment in your future and that of your children.
Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on the terms of a divorce — including child custody, child support, parenting plans, spousal support, division of marital property — you will need to appear in court where a judge will render these decisions. A contested divorce requires gathering evidence, submitting it as required by law, and presenting your case to the judge.
If you can agree on all issues, you can pursue an uncontested divorce. While this is much more simple than presenting evidence in court, you should still work with an attorney to make sure the terms of the divorce are fair, then have an attorney draft the divorce agreement to present to the court for approval. An experienced Kansas family law attorney can help you and your spouse keep negotiations on track and ensure the agreement you present to the court is comprehensive and fair.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process you and your spouse can pursue to settle disagreements during the divorce. A mediator is a neutral party who helps you work through contested issues with the goal of resolving them on your own without requiring the court to do so. “Neutral” is the important word here. The mediator advocates for neither spouse, so having an attorney with you during the mediation process may be a wise decision. Your attorney is your advocate.
You and your spouse can agree to hire a mediator, or the court may order mediation. The mediator can show no bias toward either of you and must be fully versed in Kansas family law and the legal process.
Get the Help You Need from an Experienced Attorney
For a couple who own minimal assets, have no children, and are equally able to support themselves financially, they may be able to tackle their uncontested divorce on their own. However, it is wise for anyone else to seek legal advice from a Kansas family law attorney who will advocate for their client in and out of the courtroom. Certainly, if your spouse has retained the services of an attorney, it is in your best interest to level the playing field and do the same. There is no need for you to handle this stressful and complicated legal process on your own.
For more than 40 years, Jeffers Law Office has provided knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation for clients involved in legal separation and divorce cases in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Prairie Village, and throughout Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami, and Leavenworth counties in Kansas.
If you are thinking about divorce, have been served divorce papers, or are somewhere in the process of trying to represent yourself, consider an advocate. Call Jeffers Law Office today for a free initial telephone consultation and weather this life-altering change with less stress and more confidence.