If you’re filing for divorce, you’re probably hearing a lot of unfamiliar terms and trying to choose a divorce lawyer. Whether you retain an uncontested divorce lawyer or a low cost divorce attorney, having legal assistance on your side when filing divorce papers or setting up mediation is always useful. What are some of the basic terms you should know, even without a lawyer’s guidance? How do you find a divorce lawyer that’s the right fit for you? When would you need an uncontested divorce lawyer versus a contested divorce lawyer? Understanding the basics can help you make a smart decision about how to choose the right lawyer for you and make an informed choice on how to move forward with the divorce proceedings.
What’s Up With Divorce Rates?
Unlike even half a century ago, most people know someone who’s divorced. There can be multiple reasons for couples to get divorced, though the leading cause is infidelity, according to a study that the Journal of Family Issues published. Other leading causes included incompatibility and drinking or drug abuse. Generally, the majority of those who file for divorce are women — around two-thirds. The time spent dating can make a difference with divorce rates. Couples who had dated for three or more years before getting engaged were almost 40% less likely to get divorced compared to couples who had dated for under a year before their engagement.
However, just as every relationship is different, there’s no one reason for divorce, and each situation might require a varying approach. Retaining a good divorce lawyer will let you see the options available to you and what strategy you should take.
What Do I Need to Know About A Contested and Uncontested Divorce Lawyer?
First we need to talk about contested and uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the couple mutually agrees to a divorce and agrees on terms. The court doesn’t need to get involved in the division of assets or figure out financial support (either spousal or child related) or child custody. If you’re looking for a low cost divorce and are parting on amicable terms, this is the type of divorce that you’ll probably end up proceeding with.
With a contested divorce, things get much messier. In this type of divorce, the couple cannot reach an agreement — whether it’s on whether or not actually get divorced or about more specific terms that involve assets, financial obligations, or child custody. With a contested divorce, you will absolutely want a divorce lawyer on your side, especially if your partner has already engaged one. These types of divorces tend to be much more complicated, drawn out, and expensive, so you want the expert legal advice that your lawyer can offer you.
An uncontested divorce lawyer and contested divorce lawyer will specialize in that specific type of divorce that you’re seeking, though there may be some overlap in terms of background and experience.
How Do I Find the Right Lawyer For Me?
You should ask family or friends if they have any recommendations for a good divorce lawyer in your area. Personal recommendations tend to be the best way to find a lawyer, because they’ve already been tested by someone whose judgment or opinion you trust.
Once you’ve found a selection of lawyers, do your research. Look into their backgrounds, education, experience, success rate, and the types of cases they take on. You want someone knowledgeable who can navigate the court system and legal processes with ease.
You should also meet with them in person to see how you feel around them. Trust is a huge part of a good working relationship with your lawyer, and if you feel comfortable, that’s often a good sign. You can also discuss financial terms with them and see the kind of office and resources they have behind them.
Though a divorce always comes with some stress and anxiety, retaining a divorce lawyer can hopefully minimize some of the legal headache of the process and help you get the results you’re looking for.