Not everyone knows when it’s time to consult with an attorney. But this is a resource that can be valuable, if not crucial, for specific instances in your life. If you’re not quite sure when legal counsel is a must, here are seven scenarios when you need to enlist the help of a lawyer.
You might go to jail
If you were charged with a crime involving matters such as tax fraud, domestic violence, or seemingly minor offenses involving vehicles, you need to hire an attorney. Some vehicular offenses you could be charged with involve unpaid parking tickets, driving under the influence, and vehicular homicide.
You’re going through a complicated divorce
Some divorces are cut and dried, others not so much. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have disagreements or disputes over children or assets, if there have been instances of cheating, if there are experiences and issues of domestic violence or abuse, or if your marriage involves a complex financial situation, you will need to hire an attorney. Some states allow both parties to have just one lawyer to assist in the legal process, but you can also consider enlisting the help of separate ones.
Your ex-spouse has not been paying child support or alimony
Every child deserves every kind of provision out there: Emotional, mental, medical, educational, and especially financial support. When a parent misses out on court-ordered child support payments or alimony, the other party is well within their rights to hire a child support lawyer.
The case is beyond your pay-grade
It’s OK to admit when you don’t have the know-how to represent yourself. There is so much that goes into legal disputes, like court documents, court rules, court opinions, laws, contracts, and others, and it can get overwhelming for a layperson. No matter how small the dispute might be, if you’re feeling in over your head but can’t afford to lose the case, then the time to find a lawyer to represent you was yesterday.
You will lose a lot of money
If the lawsuit opens the possibility of you losing a lot of money or any of your biggest assets, or if you’re set to go bankrupt due to the lawsuit, then it’s time to enlist the help of a legal expert. They can help you navigate the financial danger you’re facing, and they can provide you with ways to shield your family from any harm should you lose everything.
Your opponent hired a lawyer
You will be at a massive disadvantage if your opponent hired a lawyer and you choose to represent yourself. It will be a tilted competition, and you won’t have all the tools in your arsenal to make it a fair fight.
Bodily injury or harm is involved
You might be surprised that bodily injury can be involved in many cases, not just in instances of assault and battery. One of the most common ways a bodily injury can take place is through vehicular accidents. Still, they can also happen through everyday instances like someone getting bitten by a dog, experiencing physical harm or injury due to a defective product or service, and getting injured on someone’s property.
Even if you have insurance coverage for homeownership, for your car, and even for your healthcare, you will still benefit a lot from hiring an attorney when you’ve been physically injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Anything involving estate planning
If you were tasked with managing or administering the estate of a late loved one, you would certainly need the help of a lawyer. Another instance is when you’re planning to establish your own estate and when you have to decide where your own resources and properties will go after you pass. This is because it will require a will or a power of attorney to ensure that all of your wishes will be granted, and your attorney will help you make sure things are done right.
You are adopting a baby
Adopting a child is completely different from adopting a puppy or a kitten. You need help sorting through the necessary paperwork, and you will also need legal representation if the court calls upon you to prove that you will be a capable parent. An adoption lawyer can help you navigate all the obstacles you will face as you endeavor to gain legal guardianship of a baby or child that’s not yours biologically.
The Bottom Line
Lawyers are here to help us during life’s hardest moments, and they can help advocate for us when we can’t fight for ourselves. So know your rights, and know when you are entitled to an attorney.