Although a lawyer and a paralegal belong to the same professional field of law, they have different duties and responsibilities. Along with that, their capacity to function in the legal system also differs. While a lawyer has a specific degree of law and can therefore practice as a solicitor or counsel, a paralegal has done just a simple law course which is not equivalent to a law degree. Lawyers, especially those who excel in their field are extremely personalities and are often too expensive to hire. Therefore, hiring a paralegal is often recommended as a viable option to file a divorce.
Who is a paralegal?
A paralegal has law qualifications through the education and the training he/she may have received. Such an individual can carry out subsidiary legal work because of having an intermediate knowledge about the law procedures followed in the court. You will often see a paralegal assisting an attorney in different cases.
A paralegal can be considered as a legal document assistant who helps in preparing all legal documents and often assists a lawyer in setting up meetings, trials, and hearings related to the particular case. Though a paralegal can prepare legal paperwork, but cannot represent clients in court, nor can counsel them legally.
Besides doing research on a case, collecting documents, writing legal reports, and helping the lawyers, you will even find a paralegal working independently.
Paralegals vs Lawyers
Since a lawyer has a law degree, he can thereby practice law. A paralegal on the other hand works for a lawyer, but cannot practice law. If you have decided to file for divorce without a lawyer (i,e. present your case yourself in court), then also you can hire a paralegal for help. He/she will assist you in the case research, along with filing and preparing legal paperwork.
A lawyer all across the world usually has the same basic duties and responsibilities. Whereas, a paralegal does not have consistent duties everywhere.
The education for both a lawyer and a paralegal also differs a lot. An individual becomes a lawyer when he/she graduates from law school. But a paralegal often does not require a law degree. However, a specialized law course is a necessity.
Whom to hire for divorce – a paralegal or a lawyer?
If you are getting divorced, deciding whether to hire a lawyer or a paralegal can be difficult. You must hire a divorce lawyer if your divorce case has complexities like child custody, property disputes, and others. But, if your case is simple and you have mutual consent of your spouse on divorce-related issues, then you should hire a paralegal for divorce.
Advantages of hiring a divorce paralegal
- The foremost benefit of hiring a divorce paralegal is their affordability and low cost when compared to those of a divorce lawyer.
- You will get more time from a divorce paralegal and also get a more personalized experience.
You must always consider your needs and requirements before you hire either a divorce lawyer or a paralegal.