5 March, 2015
Divorce attorneys represent clients who are contemplating divorce. Depending on the complexity of a case, there is a range of tasks that a divorce attorney must perform: settling child support and spousal issues, divvying up the assets, and arranging for child custody. Because divorce cases involve high emotions and many personal issues, divorce lawyers usually have their work cut out for them. Therefore, you must make sure that you hire a competent lawyer. The job of this attorney is to communicate with the client, draft documents, and represent them in court.
What is the role of a divorce attorney?
- Preliminary investigation
At the onset, divorce attorneys should meet with clients to discuss the facts of a potential case. Information gathering is important in assessing the likelihood of winning a case. Moreover, your divorce attorney should be able to tell you whether there are sufficient grounds for a divorce. The grounds for divorce vary from one state to the other. Therefore, this will depend on your area of residence. In addition, the attorney will provide you with an outline of your case, and spell out any client responsibilities.
- Initiating the divorce process
When you pursue divorce, your attorney is supposed to file a complaint and summons – documents that give information to the person against whom the divorce is filed – in the appropriate family law court. These documents usually give the respondent notice of the approaching divorce. Once they are received, the respondent can choose to either support the divorce or file a response to answer the claims.
- Contested vs. non-contested divorces
There are two ways that a divorce case may advance after the summons and complaint are filed: it may be uncontested or contested. It is considered a contested divorce when one of the parties refuses to agree to the claims. On the other hand, in an uncontested divorce, both parties usually agree to divorce. Contested divorces involve litigation, trials, and hearings. Uncontested ones do not involve any judicial process – the only discussion involved is a divorce settlement. In either case, divorce attorneys have to represent their clients.
- Role in a settlement divorce
If both parties can resolve their issues, the divorce lawyer gathers their personal and financial information, and settles any disputes that may arise: child custody issues, asset division, and spousal as well as child support. An agreement is then drafted to delineate the responsibilities and rights of both parties. If they still do not agree, a hearing or trial might occur. The attorney represents their client during these proceedings.
What to consider when hiring divorce attorneys
If you are going through the motions of a divorce, you should have the best legal representation. A divorce lawyer might work with you throughout the entire process, or help you on a limited basis. A simple Google search will not do when searching for proficient lawyers. Consider the following when looking for an attorney:
- The lawyer should have the ability to explain the proceedings and technical jargon in plain terms.
- Hire an attorney who understands your priorities and specific needs: finances, children, etc.
- The legal representative should be someone who you can trust. You should also feel comfortable when sharing your personal information with them.
- Their fees must be affordable. If you are cash-strapped, you should consider hiring a newer and less experienced lawyer whose fees are lower.