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What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?

Divorce attorneys play different roles depending on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the terms can be negotiated without going to court. A divorce attorney can draw up or revise documents and serve as a mediator between you and your partner, as with Alternative Dispute Resolution.

If you can't decide on the terms of your split (such as assets, child custody, etc.) then you're involved in a contested divorce and must go to court. In this case, a divorce attorney can help divide assets or represent your interests in the event of disagreements. Your lawyer will also draw up the necessary documents and advise you on your next steps.

How Do I Know If I Need a Divorce Lawyer?

A divorce attorney isn't required for an uncontested divorce, but is still very useful in making sure your divorce is done legally and you're content with the terms of the arrangement. You'll probably want a divorce attorney if you end up in court.

In general, if you have any questions, concerns, or doubts, you want to consult with an attorney. There's no point in making costly errors when you can easily have an attorney review your case and guide you through the process.

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost?

An uncontested divorce will be far less expensive than a contested divorce and will take less of your time. Often for an uncontested divorce, your attorney will charge a flat rate to provide you with document services, and either a flat rate or an hourly rate to mediate the negotiations between you and your partner.

In the case of a contested divorce, an attorney will likely charge an hourly rate, and the bill can add up quickly with court appearances. The more complicated your divorce, the more your divorce attorney will charge. Rates can also vary depending on where you live. Set a rate with your lawyer up front to avoid any surprises when the bill comes.

What Should I Expect When Working with a Divorce Lawyer?

At the end of a divorce you should expect to be completely separated from your partner, as well as have the terms of your separation clearly defined. If your divorce is contested and you end up in court, a judge will hear both sides and decide on the disputed terms of your divorce. Your divorce attorney could possibly handle child custody issues, although you may choose to hire a separate child custody lawyer for these negotiations.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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