In 2019, approximately 747,000 couples divorced in the United States1. Divorce is often time-consuming and emotionally draining, and divorce proceedings can last up to a year, with the total cost averaging $12,900.2 Though you don’t have to have a lawyer to get divorced, the process is legally complicated, and not having one can lead to problems, especially if the other spouse has one.
What’s the greatest approach to find the proper attorney if you decide it’s time to hire one? Of course, each spouse will have their own difficulties and demands, and each couple will require their own lawyer. The types of divorce lawyers and their fees can vary greatly. However, it is critical to grasp the fundamentals of what divorce lawyers perform, where to find them, and how much they might charge. Even if a couple is able to settle their divorce without going to court, skilled legal counsel can be beneficial. Here’s what you should know if you’re thinking about hiring a divorce lawyer.
What Is the Role of a Divorce Lawyer?
A divorce lawyer protects their client’s rights while also addressing the custody and financial elements of the divorce. Importantly, a divorce lawyer will explain the law and your legal choices to you.
Your circumstance and any supporting documentation should be reviewed by the attorney. Paycheck stubs, tax returns, and property value information are examples of such documents. They must also listen to the client’s description of their position and goals, and then provide advice based on these specific requirements.
Though only a small percentage of divorces go to trial (90 percent settle before trial), for those that do, attorneys for each spouse undergo extensive preparation to present evidence before a judge, call witnesses to support their case, and provide opening and closing statements.3 Divorce lawyers draft a marital settlement agreement, which is a legal contract that sets the terms of child custody, alimony, and asset division, among other things.
Divorce mediation is a less expensive alternative to going to trial.
A impartial mediator aids the divorce negotiation by seeking to help the two parties reach an agreement. It is frequently less expensive and faster than going to court. Couples can mediate without attorneys, but it may not be the best option unless the divorce is relatively simple—for example, the marriage was brief and there are no children or property to distribute.
Divorce arbitration is another option for resolving disagreements in divorce discussions without going to court, and it can also be faster. It varies from mediation in that both parties present their case to an arbitrator whom they choose, and the arbitrator decides how to handle their case. Often, the arbitrator is a lawyer or a retired judge. It is crucial to note, however, that the arbitrator’s ruling is usually not appealable.
Do You Require the Services of a Divorce Lawyer?
Working through the legal process of divorce is typically complex, with extensive paperwork, waiting periods, and the submission of various documents, among other requirements, adding obstacles to individuals who seek to go through the divorce process without the assistance of a lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of the spouse (whether they have children, property, or substantial retirement accounts), they may require the involvement of lawyers in their divorce. The more work an attorney needs to do, the higher the fee.
People choose to employ a divorce lawyer for a variety of reasons. Before begin, divorce attorneys are skilled in presenting a case to a judge, seeing the larger picture, and negotiating the best deal for their clients. Second, divorce lawyers might provide options that consumers may not have aware were accessible. As a consequence of their previous expertise with similar cases, they may be able to predict the outcome, recommend settlement choices, and put up a settlement package.
Importantly, given the emotional intensity of divorce procedures, divorce lawyers serve as an objective third party, assisting clients in remaining calm and working toward the best possible conclusion. Individuals with children or considerable possessions are more likely to require the services of a lawyer, but two people with modest and comparable assets are unlikely to require the same level of assistance.