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Divorce Lawyer

To find a divorce lawyer is likely to be the single most powerful tool available to you as you make your way through the process of getting divorced. If you're like most people facing divorce, you have more questions than information. Even if you and your spouse have agreed on all of the terms of your divorce, you'll have to follow specific legal procedures to formally terminate your marriage.

Perhaps of equal importance, your divorce lawyer will make sure that the process occurs in a dispassionate manner. They will not allow the emotional issues that will arise in a divorce to interfere with their primary task, which is to get the best possible settlement for you. Because of this, reputable divorce lawyers will not represent both parties in a divorce, nor is it in your best interest to seek that.

A local attorney should offer a free initial consultation to, at minimum, give you a "divorce quote" or fee schedule. Other than the financial concerns, your attorney can help you understand local divorce, custody, and alimony laws, and how they will affect your circumstances, additionally serving as your child support attorney if necessary.

Your divorce lawyer should be chosen carefully. Try to get a referral from a reliable source and follow through by checking into your prospective attorney's track record and reputation. Large firms will in general cost more than smaller firms, but might be expected to offer a higher level of service. Try to consider all of your options while you search. A smaller private practice may provide a more personal approach.

Divorce Legal Process

Every divorce case is different, and specific laws vary from state to state, but divorce cases generally follow one of two paths. The parties may reach an agreement, submit that agreement to the court for approval, and receive a divorce decree ending their marriage and setting forth the terms they've agreed upon. Even in the existence of an agreement between the parties the judge must agree to and approve the decisions made. He is not required to "rubber stamp" an agreement presented to the court.

Or, if the parties can't reach an agreement, the case will be scheduled for a contested hearing, where a judge will consider evidence like financial records, witness testimony, and expert reports on issues like valuation of property and custody arrangements.

What is involved in a Divorce Case?

A divorce case may be more complex than you imagine. Typically, a divorce proceeding begins when one party files a divorce petition with the court and has that petition served on the other spouse.

Then, depending on the circumstances and the complexity of the issues involved, a hearing may be scheduled to establish temporary orders. Temporary orders establish responsibility for payment of bills and expenses while the divorce is pending, short-term custody arrangements, temporary visitation schedules and child support, and any other issues that must be resolved right away in order to protect the health and assets of the parties during the divorce. Your divorce lawyer can watch out for your interest as each of these issues occurs. You may find that several court dates are scheduled as the process evolves.

In some states, if the parties agree on all issues, a divorce case can be finalized in just a few weeks. In others, there is a mandatory waiting period between the filing of the divorce petition and the decree. If a contested hearing is required, a divorce case may take many months to resolve; some high-profile, high-asset cases with complex financial issues or hotly contested custody battles may take even longer. The typical time sequence in your area and what you can expect as your divorce case moves forward can be explained in detail by your local divorce lawyer.

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