(37 Ratings & Reviews)

Justice. One Client at a Time.


Process of a Divorce: When Should You Hire a Divorce Lawyer?

The process of a divorce typically requires help from a qualified divorce lawyer. Learn about hiring the most suitable option for you.

A total of 689,308 divorces took place in the United States in 2021. Just because it happens frequently enough, doesn’t mean that it’s an easy process to go through. 

The process of a divorce can be complex and emotionally charged. While some couples can navigate the divorce process amicably and without legal assistance, many situations require the expertise of a divorce lawyer.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the divorce process, when you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer, and how they can help you navigate this challenging journey.

Understanding the Divorce Process

Divorce proceedings can vary based on your location, circumstances, and whether both parties agree on the terms of the divorce. However, the general steps to a divorce are as follows. 

1. Filing the Divorce Petition

One spouse initiates the divorce by filing a divorce petition or complaint in the appropriate court. The petition outlines the grounds for divorce, requests for child custody, spousal support, property division, and other related matters.

2. Serving the Divorce Papers

The spouse who filed the petition must formally serve the divorce papers to the other spouse. This can be done through a process server or by certified mail, depending on the legal requirements in your jurisdiction.

3. Response and Counterclaim

The responding spouse has a limited time to file a response to the divorce petition. They may also file a counterclaim, outlining their own requests and concerns regarding the divorce.

4. Discovery Phase

Both parties exchange information and documentation relevant to the divorce, such as financial records, property titles, and child custody proposals. Depositions and interrogatories may be used to gather additional information.

5. Negotiation and Settlement

The divorcing couple, with the help of their attorneys or mediators, attempt to reach a settlement agreement on issues like child custody, alimony, and property division. If an agreement is reached, it is presented to the court for approval.

6. Trial

If negotiations fail, the divorce may proceed to trial. Each party presents their case, witnesses, and evidence to the judge, who then decides on unresolved matters.

7. Decree of Divorce

After the court approves the settlement agreement or makes decisions at trial, a decree of divorce is issued. This document officially ends the marriage.

When to Consider Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

While some divorces can be relatively straightforward and amicable, others are complex and contentious. Here are situations where hiring a divorce lawyer is strongly advisable.

High-Conflict Divorce

If your divorce involves high levels of conflict, such as disputes over child custody, alimony, or significant assets, a lawyer can help protect your interests and advocate for your rights. Instead of trying to solve these conflicts yourself, bring in an objective party. 

Complex Financial Matters

A lawyer can assist in proper valuation and equitable distribution. This is especially important if your marital assets are extensive and complex, including businesses, investments, retirement accounts, or real estate.

Child Custody and Support Disputes

When issues of child custody, visitation, and child support are contentious, a lawyer can provide legal guidance. This will ensure the best interests of your children are considered.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

If there are disputes regarding alimony or spousal support, a lawyer can help negotiate fair terms or present your case effectively in court. This will ensure you don’t end up spending inordinate amounts of time fighting with each other outside of court and wasting precious time and resources. 

Lack of Agreement

If you and your spouse cannot agree on key divorce issues, a lawyer can represent your interests and work toward a resolution. This kind of resolution will be a win-win situation for all involved, rather than a win-lose situation that most parties end up with without a divorce lawyer’s help.

Legal Complexity

Divorce laws can be complex and vary by jurisdiction. An attorney can navigate these complexities on your behalf, ensuring all legal requirements are met.

Protection From Abuse or Harm

In cases of domestic violence, your safety is paramount. A divorce lawyer can help secure restraining orders or protective measures. 

Unfamiliarity With Legal Procedures

If you are unfamiliar with legal processes and documentation, a divorce lawyer can guide you through each step. They will also ensure you meet deadlines and requirements without skipping a beat. 

Future Financial Security

A divorce attorney can help you plan for your financial future. This includes post-divorce budgeting and long-term financial stability.

How a Divorce Lawyer Can Assist You

Hiring a divorce lawyer can offer various benefits. You might only be concerned about the cost of a lawyer, but the benefits you get out of hiring one will quickly outweigh any expenses you might incur. They are absolutely worth their weight in gold. 

Some reasons why are as follows. 

Legal Expertise

A divorce attorney is well-versed in divorce laws, procedures, and local court practices. Your case is handled efficiently and effectively with a divorce lawyer at hand.

Objective Advice

Lawyers provide unbiased advice. They can help you make informed decisions based on your unique circumstances.

Negotiation Skills

Experienced attorneys can negotiate on your behalf. Seeking the best possible outcome for your interests, they won’t rest until they find the perfect resolution for all involved. 

Documentation and Paperwork

Lawyers handle the extensive paperwork involved in divorce cases, reducing the risk of errors or omissions. You don’t want your case thrown out of the court because of a silly error. 

Emotional Support

Divorce can be emotionally challenging. A lawyer can provide guidance and support during this difficult time.

Court Representation

If your divorce goes to trial, your attorney will represent you in court. They present your case and advocate for your rights. Who doesn’t need a support system like that on their side during a tough divorce? 

The Process of a Divorce Is Assuaged by the Help of a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is a significant life event that requires careful consideration and decision-making. While not all divorces necessitate the involvement of a divorce lawyer, seeking legal counsel is crucial in complex, contentious, or high-stakes situations.

A skilled attorney can guide you through the process of a divorce, protect your rights, and help you achieve a fair and equitable resolution, ensuring a smoother transition into your post-divorce life. 

Contact Heartland Law Office if you are searching for a divorce lawyer to help you with your divorce or custody situation.