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I remember watching soap operas as a kid and thinking a lawyer was something every family had. That’s how it looked! Every time there was a problem, people would just say “talk to my lawyer”, and this legal expert would come in and take the problem off their hands.

Imagine how shocked I was when I grew up and nobody appointed me a full-time family lawyer. Can you imagine how stunned I was?! Okay, not very – I’d learned enough by the early high school to know how lawyers work. You hire them when you need them and pay them for their time. Sure, you can have a go-to lawyer but this doesn’t make them your personal, on-call legal aide.

So when it comes to hiring a lawyer, when do you actually need one? Here are 5 common situations where you could benefit from legal representation.

  1. Tough Divorce

Divorce is already a tough, stressful event for both sides. What used to be a happy partnership has devolved and the relationship is officially over. Almost half of all marriages end in divorce, making it a real possibility for all married couples. The fact is that the person you fell in love with after a couple of years in your 20’s might not seem so appealing after a few decades together.

Since marriage is such a close bond, when it goes bad there can be a lot of nastiness and point scoring involved. It’s best to avoid as much of this as possible and let your lawyer deal with the legal side of settling everything.

  1. Business Disagreements

Your business and personal life should be kept as separate as possible. That’s okay in theory, but in practice, you tend to become friendly with the people you do business with. If things go bad though, this can be a problem. The best way to get around this is to truly separate your business and personal lives. Let your lawyer deal with any business disagreements, so you can keep your own involvement minimal.

  1. The signing of Important Contracts

Any time you’re signing an important contract, your lawyer should be present. They should also have examined the contract beforehand and made sure you fully understand what it states.

  1. Potential Criminal Charges Are Involved

Are you in a situation where you could be charged with a criminal offence? If so, get your lawyer involved immediately. Don’t wait until you are charged and don’t speak to people without your lawyer present. Insisting on your lawyer isn’t a sign of guilt, it’s a sign of being smart. These people understand the law and can save you from making any faux pas.

  1. Arrangements for Your Estate

Everything should be set in stone for when you pass away. The arrangements for your estate and your last wishes should have already been clearly stated in a will. A lawyer is essential for creating or altering a will – there has to be one present for any changes to be official.

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