A divorce can be challenging for anyone who has to go through it, so we recommend having a family law attorney on your side. Any lawyer can help you get divorced, but one that concentrates on family law has the necessary knowledge and experience to represent you successfully.

A family lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling legal issues related to family relationships. These legal matters can vary from case to case, but some of the most common issues that family lawyers deal with include divorce proceedings, child custody and support, adoption, and domestic violence cases.

A family attorney can help individuals navigate the complex legal process involved in these types of cases and work to ensure that their clients' rights and interests are protected throughout the legal proceedings. In addition to representing clients in court, family lawyers also work to provide the necessary information and guidance to their clients to achieve the best possible outcome for their cases.

What's a divorce?

As we mentioned, one of the responsibilities of a family law attorney is to deal with divorces. A divorce is a legal action between married people to terminate their legal marriage. It is also referred to as dissolution of marriage, and it ends the marriage before the death of either spouse.

A divorce is not the same as a legal separation. A legal separation involves filing papers with the court to start a legal action. They have to make decisions regarding children's custody, debts, and assets, as in a divorce, but the parties are legally separated and not divorced at the end of the process. It means they are still married but not responsible for each other.

What happens in a divorce?

The main purpose of a divorce is to terminate the parties' marriage. Therefore, the court must decide how to handle the matters of custody and placement of minor children and how to divide properties and debts.

State laws presume each party is entitled to one-half of the marital property, and each party is responsible for one-half of the marital debts.

Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?

Not necessarily, although it is beneficial, individuals are allowed to represent themselves in court action. If you decide to represent yourself, it will be referred to as a "pro se litigant."

We spoke to Djuana OConnor Oshin, a family lawyer based in Illinois, about tips for people considering getting a divorce, and she does not advise on the parties representing themselves unless they have only been married for a maximum of three years, have no kids, property or debts. This is what would be considered a “simple” divorce.

Recommendations for people looking into divorce

Djuana recommends that there are several things people often don't consider when initiating a divorce process, is emotional and financial support. She believes it is positive to have people you can rely on by your side throughout the process. This can be family and also friends who are biased toward you.

As for finances, you need to start planning how you will support yourself after the divorce is final. You may have to go back to school to learn new skills and get a job, especially if you have been a stay-at-home spouse when you were married.

According to Djuana, abuse is something else to consider, whether verbal, physical, psychological, or financial. "Part of the planning should also include safety planning, how is the other party going to react when they get noticed about the divorce, do they need to file an order of protection to keep the client safe?" Djuana commented.

Talk to more than one attorney

Talking to at least two attorneys before retaining one is another recommendation from Djuana's 23 years of family law experience. This is because not everyone has the same style and approach to a situation that aligns with the client's goals.

Another great tip is to gather all of the financial documents from the marriage and make copies, just in case they disappear, which often occurs when one of the parties reacts negatively regarding the divorce.

Finally, Djuana recommends searching for information online on the state where you will file for divorce to have general knowledge of the process before speaking to an attorney. In the US, the law differs from state to state and even sometimes from county to county.

If you need counseling from a family law attorney, you can contact Djuana in the state of Illinois or search for other professionals registered with Kounsel.