Every 36 seconds a couple is divorced in America. That comes out to nearly 2,400 divorces each day or 876,000 divorces every year. Researchers estimate that in the U.S., as many has half of all first marriages and 60% of second marriages will end in divorce. If you’re considering divorce, here are five tips to help you through:
- How to find divorce attorneys
For divorce, you’ll want an attorney who specializes in family law. If children will be involved, you may require child custody legal advice as well. A good place to start is by inquiring at local family law firms. Your family law attorney should be local, because each court system has its own procedures. Even if your case never reaches trial, it’s best if your lawyer is familiar with the local family law judges to offer the best advice.
To avoid jumping at the first lawyer you speak with, have a plan to interview three or more family law attorneys before making your decision. You can ask them about their family law practice; for instance, they may have a particular specialization within family law that could prove relevant to you. Inquire about their experience, their typical clients, and certainly about their rates. Most family law lawyers charge by the hour and some also require an upfront retainer.
- Divorce is a team sport
Your family law attorney will likely have an associate to assist them in the day-to-day management of your case. When interviewing potential family law attorneys, ask to meet this individual as well, since they’ll play an integral role in your case. Divorces can also involve various experts or witnesses, depending on the case. Ask your lawyer about the likeliness of your case requiring such support and if he or she has access to the necessary resources to adequately support you.
While you’re familiarizing yourself with your family law lawyer’s team members, take a close look at your own. Divorce is never easy and you’re likely to need support along the way. This would be a good time to reach out to old friends who knew you before your marriage and family members who won’t feel conflicted by the divorce.
- Divorce lawyers are not therapists
When looking for family law attorneys to represent you in your divorce, keep in mind your ultimate goal: to dissolve your assets and get divorced. There’s no denying divorce can be one of the most emotionally taxing experiences of your life and certainly of your relationship, but your divorce attorney isn’t here to counsel you on the emotional trauma of the situation. When you’re interviewing family law lawyers, remember the purpose of your relationship. You want someone knowledgeable in family law and able to give you sound family law advice. If you have children, seek out child custody lawyers. They don’t need to be the most sympathetic shoulder, and be ware of anyone who sounds like he or she is telling you only what you want to hear. Family law is their business and at the end of the day your relationship with your family law lawyer is a business one.
- The reality of child support
Divorce only becomes more complicated when children are involved. If you plan to seek sole custody of your children, know that in general only 62.3% of the child support money owed is actually received. The average child support due in 2011 was $500 per month but custodial parents who received only around $311 per month.
This isn’t to say your custodial agreement is doomed to fail. According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013, just under half of the 14.4 million custodial parents in the U.S. had a form of legal or informal child support agreement in place. If children are involved in your divorce, do seek child custody legal advice.
- There is light at the end of the tunnel
On average, people will wait three to four years after experiencing a divorce before remarrying, if they remarry at all. While your divorce may be one of the hardest experiences of your life, with an experienced family law lawyer at your back and solid child custody support, you can make it through.