For most couples, getting their finances divided is complicated. Add to the divorce process that usually one member of the couple wants the divorce and the other does not and you have a complicated emotional situation. Often the partner who wants to leave the marriage feels pressured to give up more property or more of something else, like parenting time, in order to relieve his/her guilt or induce the other partner to stop opposing the divorce. Most people do not know how to handle the complexities of the divorce.
So, it isn't that lawyers make your divorce complicated. It's that your divorce is complicated. Failing to involve lawyers does not make it less complicated. It often results in a divorce where the issues are not being fully addressed or one partner later regrets how much they gave up to get the process done. The unaddressed issues will come back to haunt you. Sometimes they will be very expensive to resolve. Sometimes, the unresolved issues cannot be fixed. When you give in on important issues or do not receive all the property, parenting time, custody that you were expecting, you will grow to resent the extras you felt you had to give up. This resentment will interfere with your future relationship with your former spouse.
Increasingly, I'm hearing from my clients that their spouses are pressuring them to avoid having legal representation. The opposing spouse claims that hiring an attorney is a sign that the spouse is not proceeding in good faith.
If you hire a lawyer who knows how to reduce conflict and knows how to settle a case, you will find the divorce process can go much easier than you had anticipated. If your spouse is also getting good legal advice, you can both get through this with a minimum of wear and tear.
Yes, the legal fees can be scary. However, the loss of property or having on-going strife between parents because their parenting schedule is not working well for the children is even scarier.
Many divorce lawyers will do limited representation cases. These are cases where you handle what you feel comfortable handling and the lawyers do the things that you don't feel you can handle well. It's a sharing of responsibility for completing your divorce. If you know your finances well and understand how your assets can be divided or have a sound parenting plan in place, limited representation can provide a significant cost savings.
Even if you require full representation, refusing to acknowledge that your property and other issues are complicated does not change reality. It's like refusing to acknowledge that your checking account is overdrawn when you attempt to use the ATM. You are not going to receive what you expected.
Divorce is a difficult, complicated process. You can get through it well with good help. Give your family the gift of having all your issues addressed completely so your family's post-divorce future is healthy.