In this day and age of technology and free information on the internet, it is not surprising that a lot of people want to try and play lawyer and represent themselves. In their mind, they think that they are going to be saving themselves thousands of dollars. In some cases, they might be right, but in other situations, this can be a costly decision. What almost happened to my client yesterday while at mediation was another glaring example why.
I was sitting in mediation with my client. We had reviewed all the financial disclosures and produced everything we needed to produce. The mediator asked us about retirement accounts. We went through the list. The wife’s attorney went through the list. Everyone agreed that all retirement accounts had been accounted for.
Fast forward about an hour. My client off-handedly mentions a pension that his wife had from a company that she worked for for 25 years, much of that time during the marriage. My client assumed, incorrectly, that he wasn’t entitled to any of those funds. Neither he, nor his wife, disclosed this pension in any of the documentation that was produced.
Turns out my client was entitled to a portion of this pension, which in present value terms, was quite a lot of money. Way more than he was paying me.
If my client had tried to settle his case on his own, he would have waived his interest in this pension and probably (unknowingly) settled for a much less favorable settlement than he ended up receiving.
So what is the moral of this story? Don’t assume that you have an easy case. Go online, do your research. Make sure all of your assets are accounted for. If you have a small business in Wake County, you will want to at least have an initial assessment with a Cary divorce lawyer that can walk you through the issues you need to resolve in your case.