Parties involved in Family Court cases face some of the toughest issues that people must deal with in their lives. Divorce and separation cases involve the loss of a partnership and the end of a relationship that was once close and filled with love. Custody and visitation cases affect the amount of time that a parent spends with the most precious thing in his or her life. Other cases involve financial issues which can determine whether a party has enough money on which to survive in the short and/or long term.

When faced with these important issues, most people want to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced, competent attorney. Ideally, you want to find an attorney who is not only trained in and very knowledgeable of the law, but who also has experience in preparing documents, courtroom procedure, settlement negotiation, and other aspects of Family Court cases. Hiring an attorney will help things to run more smoothly in your case and will increase the likelihood of your receiving a favorable result in your case.                   

Although it is possible to represent yourself in Family Court, it is not advisable in the vast majority of cases. Should you choose to represent yourself, the Court will not be able to assist you with your case in any manner. You will be held to the same requirements of the other party’s attorney with regard to the law, procedure, and all other issues. Should you mishandle your own case due to lack of knowledge or lack of skill, it is unlikely that an attorney will later be able to undo your mistakes.

Typically during your first meeting with an attorney, he/she will be able to assess your case and advise you of your rights and options in light of the specific facts of your case. Considering the types of issues addressed in Family Court cases, you must be comfortable sharing with your attorney information that may be personal or otherwise confidential. Certainly, doing so may be uncomfortable for you, but these types of details can make a big difference in your case. Your lawyer must be aware of everything that might pertain to your case, so it is important that you be comfortable in sharing these details with another person.

Though many people may balk at the cost of hiring an attorney, the fees charged are usually worth the experience and professionalism that an attorney can bring to the courtroom. There are certain areas of the law in which an experienced, aggressive attorney is highly recommended in order for you to have a fair trial or to negotiate the settlement that you deserve. If you had to ask yourself whether you need an attorney — you probably do and you’ll be glad later that you did.

Source: "Do You Need an Attorney for Your Family Court Case? at the South Carolina Family Law Blog.