When you are going through a tough time in your marriage, you might wonder if you need a divorce lawyer. But you may not be sure how a divorce lawyer could help you, or even what divorce lawyers do.
What Is a Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce lawyers help clients obtain divorces. They also practice other types of family law. This can include handling child support, child custody and visitation, and spousal support cases for clients. While many divorce lawyers focus primarily on family law, they do not typically deal with wills and estates or with criminal disputes involving family members.
Divorce, custody, and support laws can vary quite a bit from state to state. Divorce lawyers can only practice in states where they are licensed to practice. It’s important to find a lawyer who practices in and is familiar with the laws of the state where you live. This can make your divorce smoother and less stressful for you. For example, one requirement in North Carolina is that a couple must be separated for one year and a day before filing for divorce. Other states have different requirements and laws for filing for divorce.
Who Needs a Divorce Lawyer?
Put simply, if you’re getting a divorce, you need a divorce lawyer. You need a knowledgeable representative of your interests who is emotionally removed from the situation. Some people find it very difficult to try to divide up their property and seek or pay spousal support, because of the emotional component of divorce. Divorce is tough for many people, so having someone on your side can be very beneficial. A divorce lawyer will also advise you on your legal rights and options, and help you determine a plan for going forward.
During a divorce case, spouses sometimes want to share the same lawyer to save money and time. However, in North Carolina, this is a conflict of interest, and each spouse must seek advice from their own attorney. Your lawyer should work to understand your goals, advising you of and protect your legal rights and discussing how to proceed.
People who are separated or thinking about leaving their marriage also may need divorce lawyers. A divorce lawyer can help with preparation for separating, such as drafting a separation agreement. If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the lawyer can review the agreement and advise you on your rights. If you don’t have an agreement, you may want to discuss one with your spouse with the help of a lawyer.
Unfortunately, spouses on the brink of divorce sometimes make emotionally charged decisions. You may need help preventing your spouse from selling marital assets before divorce. Or you may need to seek a restraining order to protect yourself or your children. A divorce lawyer can advise you on how to proceed in difficult situations like this.
Finally, other people may need divorce lawyers to handle family law matters such as modifying child custody. Child custody and child support issues can arise long after a divorce, or between unmarried parents. There is no requirement to get a divorce at the same time as seeking custody – you can open a custody case at any time. But you may want a lawyer’s help to best protect you and your child(ren)’s interests.
What Do Divorce Lawyers Do for Clients?
Divorce lawyers act as representatives for their clients in all aspects of divorce proceedings. This can include many different kinds of activities, such as:
- Attending court hearings.
- Negotiating property division and other terms of the divorce with the other spouse’s lawyer
- Helping you decide your priorities when dividing property or seeking custody
- Representing you during mediation
- Preparing and filing the necessary paperwork
- Fulfilling important legal requirements for divorce
- Filing for child custody
When you hire a lawyer, ask them about the tasks that need to be accomplished to get your case resolved. The timeline to get a divorce may be longer than you anticipate, so make sure you understand the next steps. Your lawyer can advise you about what to expect during the divorce or family law process.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
If you are considering ending your marriage, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate professionals. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. We proudly serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Contact New Direction Family Law at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us at our website.