There are times when it may seem like that. And there are some lawyers out there that might actually make the divorce worse. That being said, the majority of the time, lawyers will help your case and can substantially improve things. Something I always compare it to is a doctor/patient relationship. You would not even consider performing surgery on yourself. Yet, people regularly try to proceed with their own divorce. Similarly to health issues, a poorly handled divorce can leave terrible side effects for years to come.
I will give you a couple of examples. In Missouri divorce law, almost all pensions are divisible as marital property and Judges regularly choose to divide them 50/50 unless parties settle otherwise. However, a teacher’s pension is considered separate property and is not divided as marital property. If you are a teacher handling your own divorce, you might give away half your pension without knowing any better. Judges often sign off on settlement agreements without reviewing the exact terms and then half a pension would be gone for no reason.
How about another example? This one might make more sense by using the medical analogy again. When assessing a medical emergency, doctors many times will press on a patient to determine what is wrong. By applying pressure on a certain body part they can figure out how to proceed. A well-trained lawyer can also apply pressure to figure out where to proceed. Tax exemptions, for example, will go to the parent with more custody if the case goes to trial. If your attorney is aware of this rule, he or she can use it as leverage against an opposing party that wants to split the exemptions through settlement. Parties typically exchange splitting the exemptions for lower child support, higher alimony, or a variety of other perks.
When all is said and done, if you carefully choose your attorney, you can reap the benefits from your divorce case for years to come. If you rather not deal with the hassle of an lawyer, you may just end up paying a lawyer double money down to road to try and fix things.