A good divorce lawyer is part lawyer, part psychologist and part clergy. A good divorce lawyer also is indispensable if you are contemplating a divorce (or, for lawyers, if your client is doing so).
An experienced divorce lawyer will already be aware of the issues likely to arise in your case. This divorce lawyer knows the court rules and the court personnel. She knows the other practitioners in her area of expertise. She knows the best appraisers (real estate, jewelry, pensions, etc.), the best therapists, and the best tax lawyers for this case.
Your divorce lawyer also brings certain unique skills to the case. He negotiates in a way that is designed to lessen antagonism with your child’s other parent, while still vigorously protecting your rights. He gives you advice that is geared to your family situation, not just your financial needs.
These are all great points. I would add the following:
Judges hold pro se litigants to the same strict standards and rules as attorneys, and honestly, most judges to not like people coming into court without an attorney.
If the other side has an attorney that is worth their salt, the pro se litigant will have probably lost the case months before they even get to court. Issues with jurisdiction, service, discovery, depositions, admissions, temporary orders, default, local rule compliance, etc. can blow the whole case.
Divorce is stressful enough without an experienced attorney who specializes in family law. The attorney can take much of the burden off of the litigant, reduce the length of the case, and hopefully negotiate a settlement where everyone wins and nobody goes to court. Its better that way, trust me.
You wouldn’t perform your own surgery, why would you try to take on the court by yourself. Divorce lawyers are here for a reason.
The court is not going to accept those forms you downloaded from the Internet.
Whatever your argument, the judge has heard it before. The attorney knows how to pick the battles and keep you on the judges good side.
Family law is not like other areas of the law. A skilled negotiator is superior to a combative lawyer or litigant who wants to fight about everything.