No one hears “divorce” and thinks “fun times.” Divorce proceedings are long and protracted affairs involving meeting with attorneys and making multiple court appearances. It can be a rough and draining process. Proceedings may comb through a marriage in uncomfortable detail—from your marital relations to assets and property to what’s best for the children. The potential acrimony and emotional turmoil shouldn’t be underestimated either. Divorce separates two people, literally and legally, in a tediously slow and often uncomfortably formal manner. Some form of help – whether from family, friends, therapists, or lawyers – can be important just to make it through. We’re not your friends or family, but we are lawyers. FindLaw can offer advice on getting legal help during a divorce.
What You’ll Find in This Section
This section contains information on divorce help. You can find articles here covering whether you should hire an attorney and how to make that decision. Many couples turn to mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution. This can be a cheaper, faster, and less adversarial way to end a marriage. You can find out what mediation is, how it works, and what to expect from it here.
Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?
It’s possible to get a divorce without an attorney. At a bare minimum, paperwork must be filled out and processed and court appearances will have to be made. This certainly can be done without an attorney. Probably the biggest advantage relates to cost. Lawyers aren’t cheap and divorce proceedings take up many (billable) hours. When a divorce is amicable, when there aren’t children involved, when the parties have similar financial outlooks, and when few joint assets exist, then foregoing attorneys might be worthwhile. Unfortunately that’s not always the case.
Experienced divorce lawyers know the process, can anticipate the major sticking points, and should devote the time and energy necessary to bring your divorce to fruition. Many people don’t want to or don’t feel able to handle their divorce on their own. That’s what divorce lawyers are for. There are also situations when hiring a divorce lawyer is more or less a necessity. Feuding couples may “lawyer up” early. Divorces involving substantial financial assets or custody issues might require help. People hire an attorney because they need an attorney, and this often applies to handling a divorce. If this describes your situation, then it’s probably time to find a lawyer.
Alternatives to Litigation: Divorce Mediation
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Essentially, mediation involves a neutral third party (the mediator) bringing together two disputing parties and helping them reach a mutually-agreed resolution. The benefits of divorce mediation can be considerable. Couples can divide assets and property, decide child custody issues, and end their marriage in a relatively harmonious manner. It’s often faster and cheaper than going through full divorce proceedings. Divorce through mediation can also prepare both sides for working together after a marriage ends. This can be particularly important when children are in the picture.
Getting Legal Help
Helpful advice is important when considering divorce. If you have further questions, we recommend speaking with an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney can review your case and provide some expert advice.