Divorce can be amicable, and it can also be messy. When a business with shared ownership is involved, or there are large amounts of assets to be divided up, then divorce can become very complicated. If children are involved, then things can turn bitter as custody is often sought by both parties. 

Over 630,000 couples divorced in 2020 in the US. Looking at the statistics, the divorce rate by state shows that some areas have far higher divorce rates than others. Fortunately, the divorce rate in the US appears to be in decline, and in 2019 it hit a record low.

However, there will always be couples whose relationship comes to an end. Whether this is amicable or not will often depend on the cause of divorce. And how difficult the divorce is may depend on what type of legal representation is chosen.

Do you need to hire a lawyer to get divorced?

If you are about to start the process of getting divorced no doubt you will have thought about using an attorney. In the case of an uncontested divorce, there may be no need to hire any form of lawyer.

Nonetheless, not all divorces are this simple. While you can divorce without a lawyer, many factors make it necessary to seek legal assistance.

If the divorce is complicated by financial or other issues then you should seek the advice of a lawyer.

Are family law lawyers and divorce lawyers different?

Family law encompasses several different areas including child custody, adoption, child support, and divorce.

A divorce lawyer will practice family law, but they will handle divorce cases. So, in effect, a family law lawyer and a divorce lawyer work in the same field. There are many myths surrounding divorce, and one is that mothers always get custody. This isn’t necessarily true, and a family law attorney may be of help when it is time to decide this issue. 

What does a family law lawyer do?

Apart from covering areas such as child support that has been mentioned above, they can handle prenuptial agreements, wills, and spousal support agreements. They are often involved in custody cases and will help with divorce proceedings. 

Family law was impacted by Covid as courts closed and divorce cases backed up. Having a family law attorney would have made the stress during this time somewhat easier. Anyone trying to divorce during the pandemic without an attorney would likely have suffered greater distress.

How can a family law lawyer make a divorce easier?

A family law attorney will have your best interests at heart and will be able to represent you in the family court. They will prepare all the necessary documents needed, and they can help you to account for marital assets and what the grounds for divorce are. 

By taking away the paperwork, and guiding you through the divorce they can make the whole process a little easier and less stressful. They also deal with family law resolution and may use reflective communication and mediation to help settle custody. 

Family law attorneys can help a couple agree on visitation rights and custody after the divorce has occurred. By having an experienced lawyer here, prolonged and bitter court battles can be avoided, along with the financial and emotional cost that they bring. 

How to select the right family law attorney for you

Divorce can be expensive, so finding the right law firm is crucial. In Arizona, you can file for divorce yourself for $577. But, when it is necessary to use a lawyer the cost on average is around $20,000. In complex cases, this could rise to $100,000. 

The average cost of divorce does differ across the states, and in Tennessee for instance it is somewhat lower than in Arizona. 

Hiring a divorce lawyer in Tennessee will set you back on average somewhere in the region of $10,000. However, when the divorce is not contested this cost falls even lower. And if you file court-approved divorce papers yourself then it will be lower still.

When choosing a lawyer you may want to consider the following. 

• First, ask yourself whether you truly need a lawyer

• Choose a local lawyer

• Make a list of possible choices

• Carry out some research on the firms

• Ensure they specialize in family law

• Ask about courtroom experience

• Work within your budget

• Ask friends who have been divorced for advice

Selecting a local family law firm should ensure they are easier to meet with. They will also have local contacts and knowledge of the courts and judges in your area.


Most custody decisions don’t come from bitter courtroom battles. The majority of couples are able to agree on visitation and custody with the help of a family law attorney.

These lawyers can also help divorces go smoother by handling the paperwork and covering areas such as marital assets and the proper grounds for divorce. They may not be able to make a divorce completely comfortable, but they should make it easier.