While marriage can be an exciting and loving experience that lasts a lifetime, the unfortunate truth is that many marriages end in divorce. In fact, the divorce rate in the U.S. for a first marriage is around 41 percent, and that increases with each consecutive marriage: 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce, as do 73 percent of third marriages. There are known factors that contribute to divorce, but the top five reasons for divorce in the U.S. are infidelity or betrayal, abuse, financial problems, communication problems, and loss of interest.
Although there are strategies that help keep a couple together, such as counseling, sometimes the only practical choice to make is to file for divorce. In the U.S., divorce is governed by state law, not federal regulation, and so the details of how the termination of the marriage will be conducted may change from state to state. This is what divorce lawyers do: it is their job to know the finer points of the law, understand and manage the paperwork required, and to represent your interests in a variety of legal settings and situations. Divorce lawyers are skilled at handling a wide range of issues, such as marriage annulment, legal separation, child custody and support, and distribution of property and assets. They are also known as family practice lawyers or divorce attorneys.
The dissolution of a marriage and reorganization of a family is emotionally difficult. During this time, it?s important that one be supported by positive, trustworthy people. When selecting divorce lawyers, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Finding A Divorce Attorney
Many prospective clients rely on referrals from friends, therapists, clergy members, or other personal acquaintances, but many people start by searching online for family divorce lawyers in their area, and then move on to the next level of criteria.
Look for a divorce attorney with substantial experience in handling cases similar to yours. There are no specific educational requirements to qualify one for these civil cases, but there are a variety of ways in which divorce lawyers specialize. Many state bar associations offer certifications in specialty areas, as do some professional organizations. In addition, some divorce lawyers have focused on nontraditional marriages, military marriages, international relationships, and more. Another way experience is important is that practiced divorce attorneys have built up a network of contacts within the justice system. They know what to expect of the other players, such as the other lawyers and judges involved.
Fees and Billing
At your first meeting, many things will be discussed, but among them should be the fees and billing schedule. For example, does the attorney take a retainer up front? What is his or her hourly rate and how will you be billed? Be sure you fully understand all aspects of the financial side of your lawyer-client relationship, and don?t sign on with anyone until you do. It should all be in writing, clearly explained, with a copy for your records.
Family lawyers have to have great communication skills for a variety of situations. Not only is it important that they are accessible, have flexible schedules, and respond quickly to your calls or emails, but they also have to be good listeners. They should make you feel comfortable, and show that they care about what you?re going through. After meeting with a lawyer, you should feel more comfortable with the divorce process, even if you are upset about the divorce itself.
If a family is experiencing divorce, separation, child custody mediation, or any of the unfortunate situations that happen sometimes, a divorce attorney should be an advocate and support. He or she may be part of one?s life for a while, as a divorce can take up to a year to finalize. That being the case, be sure to choose carefully and consider the above criteria when looking for divorce lawyers.