Marriage stands as one of the world’s oldest institutions, traditionally designed to unite a man and woman into a household that can raise children. This is true today, and some parts of the world have also legalized same-sex marriage. But the legal end of marriage, divorce, is also common today, and estimates say that 40-50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce for some reason or other. If a household is strained beyond its limit and marriage counseling does not help, then divorce lawyers may be hired, and those divorce lawyers may help their clients fight over assets in the household during a divorce. Not only may divorce attorneys be involved, but child custody lawyers may be hired if the household has any under-18 children in it, too. What sort of divorces call for divorce lawyers? Or would a divorce mediator be a better idea?
Why Divorce May Happen
What brings about a divorce? Many studies and surveys are done to track marriage and divorce in the United States, and some general trends have emerged. The top reason for divorce in the U.S. today is infidelity, when one spouse has been unfaithful to the other. Finding out that one’s spouse has had an affair may deal a major emotional blow to the other. If marriage counseling cannot remedy the situation, then divorce may be next. Men and women alike cheat, though the two sexes might cheat for different reasons.
That’s not all. Divorce may happen because one spouse is abusive toward other members of the household, and abuse may be violent, verbal, or even sexual in nature. If domestic abuse is taking place, the victim spouse and their children might even relocate to a different residence during the divorce process, and only interact with their spouse through those lawyers. One of the spouses might also be abusing drugs or alcohol, and substance abuse will at least put financial pressure on the household, if not cause erratic or abusive behavior, too.
Not all divorces are so traumatic, however. In other cases, two spouses are divorcing simply because they realize that they have too little personal compatibility, or that they have very different lifestyles or spending habits. Trends also show that two people who date for three or more years are less likely to end up divorcing than two people who got engaged early in their relationship. Some of these lower-intensity divorces might call for the aid of mediators rather than divorce lawyers. This is up to the two spouses’ discretion.
Getting a Divorce
When a spouse is ready to file for divorce, that person may look up local divorce law firms (possibly in secret) and consult the lawyers who work at those firms, which may or may not incur a fee. Once a lawyer is hired, that client spouse may properly file for the divorce, and they will have their attorney represent their interests during the divorce. The other spouse may hire divorce lawyers of their own to defend their own interest, and through those lawyers, the two spouses will fight over assets in the household. Such assets may be money or bank accounts, a car or recreational vehicle, a house or vacation home, or even family jewelry or a privately owned business. If the household includes under-18 children, child custody lawyers may be hired, too. And while nothing is being guaranteed here, a spouse may be more likely to win custody of the child if they are not abusive and if they have a stable income. If the child is aged 12 or over, he or she may speak to the case’s judge privately about where they want to live after the divorce.
What about mediators? Smaller and simpler divorce cases might not need full-blown divorce lawyers, so the two spouses might enlist the aid of divorce mediators instead. These mediators do not take sides; instead, they help coax out good ideas from each spouse, helping them come up with fair and productive ideas for how to handle the divorce. The divorcing spouses are the one who debate the divorce’s terms, rather than lawyers. What is more, a mediated divorce case is generally more private and cheaper than a divorce case in court, which the divorcing spouses may find appealing.