What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?

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In the US, approximately 40-50 percent of marriages end in a divorce. A half-century ago, things were different, but the landscape changed between 1969 when California became the first state to legalize no-fault divorce, and 2010 when New York became the last of the 50 states to do so. The significance of no-fault divorce is that it allows any couple to split up, even if there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either spouse.

Although the decision to divorce is usually an emotionally wrenching decision, thanks to the terms of the law, it can easily be granted under a no-fault divorce ruling. Keep in mind; divorce in this country is largely handled via state courts, in accordance with state law, and not via federal laws and regulations. Because of this, it is almost always better to hire a divorce lawyer who is capable of handling a wide range of family law issues that stem from divorce or which can include child custody, child support, and visitation rights.

Here are some of the interesting facts you should know about divorce:

  • It can last between three and twelve months, depending on the complexity of each case
  • Fault and no-fault types exist
  • And so do contested and uncontested

What Are the Educational Requirements for a Divorce Lawyer?

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The compulsory requirements for all lawyers in nearly every state are that they attend and complete and pass a course load at an ABA-accredited law school and also pass the state bar exam. As a lawyer, you don’t need to take any special course in case you want to work on divorces, but it is advisable to investigate the matter as it will give you much-needed knowledge.

According to rightlawyers.com, A law student is advisable to take courses on child custody, family dysfunction, and property rights which are a part of family law in a majority of colleges. Some of the most common degrees are Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree while some law schools offer a Master of Law (LL.M) in Family Law which they would receive after having earned their J.D. However, there is no substitute for practical experience, so taking courses at law school may not be a good substitute for the knowledge and experience gained in the local family court system.

How Does Your Job Look Like as a Divorce Lawyer?

No matter how complicated a divorce may be, there are certain legal issues that you will need to address. Even in a simple uncontested divorce, you need to know your way around paperwork and how the process looks. Couples who are going their separate ways usually hire lawyers for reasons such as asset division, debt settlement, and child custody, and child support.

In other words, the divorce lawyers are responsible for analyzing the marriage and gathering all the necessary paperwork, submitting it all to courts. This can be a tedious job, but it is something that must be done. The paperwork will be used as evidence and it is therefore required of a lawyer to be careful what they submit. This can have a major influence on the verdict.

What Skills Should Lawyers Possess?

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All of this means a divorce lawyer must be something of an expert with several unique skills.  First of all, they need to learn how to listen to their clients, the opposing sides, and the court judges. They have to realize that their responsibility is great and their ability to listen and react appropriately can shape someone’s life.

Secondly, divorce lawyers must not judge the couple. Often separations are ugly and as they learn the history of the relationship, they must stay free of any judgment. They need to bear in mind that they are here to help their clients walk away from a dysfunctional marriage and keep both sides happy, despite the emotion that can be there.

What Else Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?

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A divorce lawyer’s job is to explain to their client whether there are any benefits to asking the court to dissolve the marriage based on fault grounds. This may be relevant in determining whether spousal support will be available or how much support will be awarded. In many cases, there has been a defect in the marriage; for example, a legal requirement may have been ignored, or some of the necessary paperwork may not have been filed or a proper ceremony may not have been performed to make the marriage legal. A highly skilled divorce lawyer can assist the client with the information they need to discuss whether voiding or annulling the marriage may be preferable to getting a divorce.

Because going through a divorce is so often a difficult time for both spouses, both financially and emotionally, an experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney can help make the process easier, by offering explanations of some of the more difficult aspects of the process. Every state has established no-fault grounds for divorce that give one of the spouses the right to petition the court for the dissolution of the marriage, while some grounds for divorce are fault-based, such as adultery, cruel treatment, or abuse.  At the same time, all states recognize no-fault grounds for divorce. However, some states require that the spouses live separately for a specified period of time before their courts are permitted to dissolve the marital relationship. Divorce attorneys know these laws and how they apply in each situation, which means they can help relieve a lot of the stress inherent in the divorce process.