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Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

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Divorce is usually a stressful, upsetting experience for all parties involved. Without the assistance of an attorney, it can be even worse. An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through the divorce process and help you with everything from division of assets to alimony and child support. Your lawyer can also help you take steps to protect your children from emotional trauma that may be caused by the separation of their parents.


What a Divorce Lawyer Does

Your divorce attorney will assist you with a variety of tasks related to your divorce. First, lawyers who specialize in divorce and other areas of family law have the experience necessary to know which means of dissolving the marriage is most appropriate for your situation. For example, legal mediation — a less costly alternative to extensive divorce proceedings — may be a good option in your case. Even if this isn't possible, your attorney can help you keep down costs by working with you to determine which matters can be settled quickly. Understandably, divorcing parties are often very caught up in the emotion of the situation, but unfortunately this can drag things out and lead to exorbitant legal costs. Your divorce attorney can help you avoid many of these difficulties by pointing out which issues, from a legal standpoint, are not subject to much discussion. Depending on your case and the state in which you reside, this may include division of assets, alimony and other matters.

To make these determinations, your lawyer will likely ask you for copies of various financial statements. Divorce lawyers, sometimes known as family law attorneys, have extensive experience evaluating personal financial documents to determine how assets should be divided, how much alimony and child support is due and other considerations.

Selecting a Divorce Lawyer

Many people going through a divorce find it difficult to communicate with their soon-to-be ex-spouses. A good divorce lawyer understands this and works hard to settle matters that are so often challenging for the parties involved. This can require any number of steps, and may even involve discussions with your ex-spouse's attorney. Your divorce lawyer should be someone who feels comfortable communicating with your spouse's attorney and anyone else involved in a straightforward, civil manner. In the long run, this will save you untold stress and money.

Your own relationship with your attorney is also important. To arrive at a quick, economical resolution to your divorce, you will need to disclose personal information to your attorney, so be sure you choose a divorce lawyer with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal matters. It is also important that you feel free to ask questions and express any concerns that you may have.

The best divorce lawyers are those who specialize in family law and have a history of success with cases similar to yours. You might want to consider interviewing more than one attorney in order to ensure that your needs are fully met. In most cases, your initial consultation will be free.

Other Considerations

Be aware that laws can differ significantly from state to state; the resolution of your divorce will depend largely on the laws of the state in which you live. In community property states, for example, assets acquired during the course of the marriage will most likely be divided 50-50, no matter what caused the divorce.