Hi. I am Jessica Sterle. I’m a custody and divorce lawyer serving the Twin Ports and the Iron Range of Minnesota. I am often asked if one really needs to hire a divorce attorney and I always respond, yes. Below are the top 10 reasons why you should hire a Minnesota family law attorney instead of going it alone and avoid filling out the court provided fill-in-the-blank paperwork themselves or using online services like LegalZoom or other legal websites:
- I have been practicing family law in Northeastern Minnesota for 20 years. Through the years I have appeared in court in thousands of hearings and court proceedings and have gotten to know the judges and how our courts look at family court issues. I know the court staff to contact when there are questions about a case.
- I know how to electronically file and serve court paperwork. If you represent yourself, you have to go to the courthouse to file the paperwork which is processed by hand which can add weeks onto the court process or you have to figure out how to register yourself on the court’s website and learn how to electronically file paperwork with the court and serve it on the other party.
- I have experience working with the area’s family law attorneys which are invaluable especially if one’s spouse or significant other decides to hire one of them.
- “You don’t know what you don’t know” when you represent yourself in court. As I get to know a case, I look for legal issues that may not be evident to my client but they are to me. Some settlements the parties want to make are legally not allowed. Often times I identify legal issues the parties did not know they missed and need to address in their case. I do not just draft legal paperwork without any thought or interest. I always assess a case whether I work on it for five minutes or two hours because my job is to represent a client to the best of my abilities to make sure their legal interests are protected.
- Judges review every family court agreement to make sure it is fair and equitable and in the best interests of children. They don’t blindly sign the paperwork to bring a case to the end. My years of experience have taught me what information they are looking for and how to avoid a judge refusing a mutual agreement.
- I know the exact paperwork needed to begin and eventually complete a family court case and what information must be included with the paperwork. Some legal sites have you fill out paperwork that is not needed in Minnesota when it applies to other states.
- I know exactly how our court process works. The fill-in-the-blank papers and legal websites require certain forms to be filled out that are not needed or used based on our local court rules and culture.
- Some family court cases require at least one mandatory court hearing. I prepare the client in advance of the hearing about what to expect. I appear at the hearing with the client, I speak on behalf and for the client so they do not have to because appearing in court without an attorney and not knowing what to expect can be a very stressful and uncomfortable experience.
- Clients talk with me – I am easily reachable either by telephone or email. Clients can schedule appointments online on my website at their convenience.
- Just as important, I care about my clients and their families. I am not a robot automatically generating paperwork. Clients are not alone filling out paperwork on their own wondering if they completed it correctly. They know the next steps of their case. Rather, my client’s wellbeing matters and so does making the family court process as less scary and stressful as possible.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with me, please complete schedule an initial consultation appointment online and fill out the Consultation Intake Form.