Expertise.com

Best Divorce Lawyers in Durham

Laurels
Laurels

We did the research for you!

Learn more
  • checkboxLicensing
  • checkboxUser Reviews
  • checkboxMystery Shopping Calls

Divorce Lawyers FAQs

Learn more
Alisa Huffman MSW, JD logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Alisa Huffman MSW, JD

311 S Academy Street, Cary, NC 27511
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Contested
  • Mediation

Business Description

Alisa Huffman MSW, JD, is a law office that caters to clients in and around Durham. It deals with various family matters, including divorce and legal separation. The firm's attorney, Alisa Huffman, evaluates each family's specific situation and develops a strategy for them. She seeks favorable results through mediation and collaborative law. Huffman spent five years serving as a clinical social worker before entering law school. During the first 13 years of her legal career, she worked as a court manager.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.4 / 5 (23)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Ann M. Credle, P.A. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Ann M. Credle, P.A.

3500 Westgate Drive, Durham, NC 27707
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Alimony

Business Description

Ann M. Credle, P.A., is a law firm serving Durham and the neighboring communities. It serves as an advocate for individuals in divorce cases, helping them identify legal issues and procuring solid strategies to achieve a fair settlement. Founder Ann M. Credle handles cases concerning property division, alimony, separation, prenuptial agreements, as well as child support and custody. She has 25 years of experience in family law and is a certified family law mediator.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (4)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Barri Payne Family Law & Mediation logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Barri Payne Family Law & Mediation

1911 Hillandale Road, Durham, NC 27705
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Barri Payne Family Law & Mediation represents clients in Durham and the surrounding areas. It handles divorce and helps resolve issues regarding child custody, long-term alimony, temporary spousal support, and distribution of marital properties and debts. It also provides assistance in the other areas of family law, like adoption, mediation process, property settlement and equitable distribution, and modification and enforcement. Its founding attorney, Barri Hilton Payne, is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist and Family Financial Mediator.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.1

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Browner Law, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Browner Law, PLLC

127 W. King St., Hillsborough, NC 27278
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Business Description

Browner Law PLLC provides legal representation to individuals residing near Durham. Attorney Browner works on divorce cases that involve child custody, including sole legal and joint physical custody. He handles matters involving the equal distribution of marital and divisible property while considering factors such as the length of the marriage and income of each spouse. The firm mediates on spousal support and post-decree issues. Jeremy Todd Browner is a member of the North Carolina Bar and the Orange County Bar associations.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Chapel Hill Family Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Chapel Hill Family Law

107 Conner Drive, Suite 210, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Chapel Hill Family Law serves individuals seeking a divorce in Durham. The firm offers legal advice and representation in areas such as child custody and support, separation agreements, and domestic violence. Its attorneys also assist divorcing clients with equitable asset distribution, alimony negotiation, and pre-marital agreement enforcement. They advocate for alternative conflict resolution methods such as negotiation and collaborative divorce. Chellie Martin Jones, a co-founder, is a Certified District Court Mediator and a Parenting Coordinator.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (24)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (7)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Charles R. Ullman & Associates Attorneys at Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Charles R. Ullman & Associates Attorneys at Law

109 S. Bloodworth St., Raleigh, NC 27601
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody

Business Description

Charles R. Ullman & Associates focuses on assisting Durham residents with family law cases. It provides clients with case updates throughout the divorce process and prepares separation agreements that help couples navigate child support, debt division, and visitation issues. Its lawyers also guide individuals who want an amicable divorce and settle issues through mediation. Other legal services that they offer include arbitration, alimony termination, and child support modification. Principal attorney, Charles R. Ullman, is a family law specialist recognized by North Carolina State Bar.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (39)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Donna Ambler Davis, PC Attorneys and Counselors at Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Donna Ambler Davis, PC Attorneys and Counselors at Law

141 Providence Road STE 140, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Donna Ambler Davis, PC Attorneys and Counselors at Law, serves the people of Durham and nearby areas. It provides legal assistance to clients who want to conclude their relationship with their partners through a divorce. Its lawyers handle different types of divorce claims, such as absolute divorce and fault-based legal action. They also deal with other family law matters, including the division of assets and debts, financial support, and alimony. Donna Ambler Rice, the lead counsel, is a board-certified family law specialist.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (26)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Doyle Law Group logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Doyle Law Group

9051 Strickland Road, Suite 121, Raleigh, NC 27615
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody

Business Description

The Doyle Law Group provides aggressive representation for clients in Durham and nearby areas in the area of family law. It helps former couples who are going through no-fault, military, high-net-worth, contested, and uncontested divorces. Its attorneys aim to resolve family law matters, including the division of marital properties and businesses, through mediation or litigation. Glenn S. Doyle, the firm's founding attorney, is a certified family financial mediator by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. 

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (7)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Ellis Family Law, P.L.L.C. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Ellis Family Law, P.L.L.C.

3200 Croasdaile Drive, Durham, NC 27705
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Business Description

Ellis Family Law PLLC is a legal practice in Durham that provides counsel and litigation solutions to individuals with divorce disputes, seeking the best possible resolutions in and out of court. It deals with disagreements arising from parenting plans, child custody, division of marital assets, and paternity issues. The firm also handles domestic violence cases. It offers appeal services for court rulings, pursuing the changing or termination of rights for matters such as child custody.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (25)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Foil Law Offices logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Foil Law Offices

133 East King Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Alimony

Business Description

Foil Law Offices has been helping families resolve domestic disputes since 1976. It guides Durham clients in each step of the divorce process, from separation procedures to court judgment and appeals. N. Joanne Foil and her team also provide alternative dispute resolution assistance through mediation and negotiation. Foil is a board-certified family law specialist and served as a representative of the NC State Bar's Dispute Resolution Commission. She worked as an instructor at the Duke University School of Law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.0 / 5 (20)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Jill E. Burton & Associates, P.L.L.C. logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Jill E. Burton & Associates, P.L.L.C.

3543 Rose of Sharon Road, Durham, NC 27712
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Asset Distribution
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Alimony
  • Post Decree Modification

Business Description

Jill E. Burton & Associates, P.L.L.C., guides individuals in Durham through every stage of the divorce process. The firm is headed by Jill Burton, a divorce lawyer with extensive knowledge of family law issues. With over two decades of professional background, Burton is experienced in mediation and litigation. She and her legal team offer counsel on separation agreements, post-divorce modifications, post-separation support, and equitable distribution of property. They also handle matters involving adoption, parental rights, and child support.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.0 / 5 (8)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Kelley Family Law & Mediation logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Kelley Family Law & Mediation

2310 S. Miami Blvd., Ste 232, Durham, NC 27703
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Kelley Family Law & Mediation counsels and represents clients in the Durham metro and the surrounding communities. It assists individuals who are filing a divorce and helps them resolve related issues. These include child custody, visitation, and support and spousal maintenance. It also deals with cases related to adoptions, birth certificate corrections, name changes, and prenuptial agreements. Rhonda B. Kelley, the managing attorney, holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and an advanced certificate in Alternate Dispute Resolution.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.2
Google
4.2 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Kunz Law, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Kunz Law, PLLC

3204 Guess Road, Durham, NC 27705
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Contested

Business Description

Kunz Law, PLLC, has been serving individuals and families throughout Durham since 2017. The firm practices family law, representing clients in various legal matters, including uncontested and contested divorce. Its founding lawyer, Charles M. Kunz, helps clients navigate the legal system and assists with other family law matters, such as child custody, modification of custody, adoption, name changes, and show cause orders. Prior to law school, Kunz worked as a police dispatcher and a 911 operator.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.2
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Law Office of Martha McKee logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Law Office of Martha McKee

3708 Lyckan Parkway Ste. 103, Durham, NC 27707
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Business Description

The Law Office of Martha McKee is a firm with a skilled family lawyer in Durham who has over 25 years of experience. Attorney Martha McKee strongly advocates for individuals and families in transition through litigation or settlement regarding issues of custody, child support, property division, alimony/ spousal support and attorneys fees. The office goal is to ensure optimal outcomes in a supportive environment. The firm also assists clients with adoptions, paternity issues, terminations, prenuptial agreements, DSS/CPS cases, incompetency proceedings, wills and powers of attorney among other family-related issues.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
FindLaw
4.5 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Littlejohn Law Offices logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Littlejohn Law Offices

2310 South Miami Boulevard, Durham, NC 27703
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Asset Distribution
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Littlejohn Law Offices represents clients in divorce and family law cases in Durham and the surrounding areas. It helps with child custody, child support, property allocation, separation agreements, and other divorce-related issues. The firm also concentrates on other areas of law, such as small business creation and trademark services. Diane Littlejohn, the managing owner and principal, graduated from law school in 2010 with a certificate in dispute resolution. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as a journalist and writer.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.6 / 5 (10)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
NicholsonPham Law logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

NicholsonPham Law

113 Broadway Street, Durham, NC 27701
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Asset Distribution
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

NicholsonPham Law offers legal representation in divorce and family law proceedings to clients in the Durham area. It assists in various marital issues, including support and alimony, custody, and property division. In addition, the law firm focuses on family matters such as LGBT law, adoption, assisted reproductive technologies, surrogacy, and donor agreements. NicholsonPham Law is an LGBT-focused firm that brings over 50 years of combined legal experience. It houses staff that is also fluent in Spanish, French, and Vietnamese.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley, PLLC

401 Meadowlands Drive, Hillsborough, NC 27278
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Business Description

The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley PLLC is a law firm led by a divorce attorney near Durham who focuses on child welfare and family law cases. Since 2011, its legal team has represented clients who want to divorce a spouse that is living abroad. The firm assists with settling child custody disputes or recovering a child who's been abducted to a foreign country. The Law Office of Derrick J. Hensley also handles domestic and international adoptions.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
The Law Office of Jessica M. Major, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

The Law Office of Jessica M. Major, PLLC

2530 Meridian Parkway, Suite 300, Durha, NC 27713
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody

Business Description

The Law Office of Jessica M. Major, PLLC, caters to families and individuals in Durham. It provides legal counsel in different areas of family law, including divorce cases. The firm helps couples arrange settlement agreements to resolve equitable distribution and child and spousal support issues. It also represents clients dealing with criminal defense and personal injury law matters. Founder Jessica Major has been practicing in North Carolina for more than a decade. She also serves clients in Alamance and Person.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (10)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Ware Law Firm logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Ware Law Firm

120 S. Main Street, Suite 220, Graham, NC 27253
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody

Business Description

Ware Law Firm represents families and individuals in Durham and nearby metros. One of its practice areas is family law, providing legal counsel to couples dealing with absolute divorce disputes. The company helps clients resolve issues related to alimony or spousal support, equitable distribution, and child support and custody. Primary partner Shilanka Ware also caters to plaintiffs suffering from serious injuries resulting from auto and truck collisions, medical malpractice, and slip-and-fall accidents. Additionally, she litigates real estate and bankruptcy law matters.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
3.8

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Woodmansee & Szombatfalvy, PLLC logo
Visit WebsiteWebsite

Woodmansee & Szombatfalvy, PLLC

3001 Academy Road, Durham, NC 27707
Visit WebsiteWebsite
  • Asset Distribution
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support

Business Description

Woodmansee and Szombatfalvy PLLC Durham Family Law Group provides divorce legal services to the Durham area. The firm offers court representation and mediation services for clients needing assistance with asset and debt division matters, spousal maintenance requests, and child custody and support disagreements. It also prepares separation and post-nuptial agreements. Owners Julie Woodmansee and Barbara Szombatfalvy have nearly three decades of collective experience in family law and hundreds of divorce clients throughout that time.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic steps to filing for divorce?

The steps required to file for divorce depend heavily on whether the divorce is contested, if there are minor children or property issues at stake, and if there are disagreements over child support or alimony. The process may also differ from state to state, but generally parties must:

  • File the divorce petition
  • Hire a process server to give the other party divorce papers/respond to the original petitioner's filing
  • Request temporary orders covering issues such as custody/visitation, support, and exclusive property use
  • Make financial disclosures
  • Request discovery from your spouse
  • Propose and/or consider a possible settlement
  • Go to trial if necessary
  • Receive a signed judgment from the court indicating the divorce is final
  • Address post-divorce tasks such as transferring property titles and closing joint bank accounts

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

The cost of a divorce differs dramatically based on a litany of criteria, such as whether the divorce is contested, where the divorce petition is filed, and whether the divorce requires a professional intermediary or other legal expert. A simple, low-frills DIY divorce can be as little as a few hundred dollars. Add in mediation and the cost may jump to the mid-four figures and can easily reach $7,000 or more. Hire a lawyer and you may pay anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000+ if there are major custodial issue or complex financial concerns.

How much does a divorce lawyer cost?

Most divorce lawyers charge by the hour and billing can vary dramatically. Some attorneys in more affordable markets and/or with less experience may charge as little as $75/hour. More experienced attorney or those who have large staffs, specialize in complex cases, or hold relevant certifications may charge premium rates in excess of $400/hour. Then there are the amount of hours invested; simple cases may be over in a matter of weeks while hotly contested divorces can drag on for years leading to lawyer's fees in the tens of thousands.

How to choose a divorce lawyer/what to look for?

Divorce lawyers are not one-size-fits-all. It's important to find a lawyer whose skill set, experience, and resources align with the demands of each specific situation. For instance, some attorneys will push mediation while others are naturals in the courtroom.

  • Know your budget
  • Limit your search to lawyers experienced in family law
  • Zero in on lawyers or firms that can handle the complexities of divorce, especially any issues that may be specific to the current case
  • Read reviews and ask friends for recommendations, but remember that their situations and needs may not be the same
  • Conduct interviews to see who feels trustworthy and can spell out an approach that feels appropriate
  • Try to ignore ad campaigns and office décor and instead consider track record and skills

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree on the major issues, such as custody of any minor children, child support, alimony, and how to divide any assets and/or debt. While uncontested divorces still require a judge to approve the terms of the divorcing couple's signed agreement, these relatively simple splits tend to move faster, cost less money, and are easier to execute without the help of a divorce lawyer. A divorce filing that goes unanswered by the non-petitioning party may also be considered uncontested.

Can you file for divorce without a lawyer?

It's possible to file for divorce without a lawyer, especially if the divorce is uncontested. Many states offer free divorce forms either online or at legal self-help centers located in or near family court. There are often dispute resolution resources available as well; mediation services can help iron out disputes over custody or financial support without involving lawyers. Still, a free consultation with a divorce lawyer can offer valuable insight, and contentious divorces, whether they go to trial or not, all but require legal representation.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of a divorce is contingent on four things: each state's mandatory waiting period, whether the divorce is uncontested or contested, how quickly both sides can come to an agreement, and how quickly a judge is able to hear or review the case and sign off. The best-case scenario is an uncontested divorce in a state with a short waiting period which could see a divorce finalized in a matter of weeks. For divorces with highly combative parties, long discovery periods, and other complications, a decision could take months or even years.

How to prepare for divorce?

It's difficult to ever feel truly prepared for the rigors of divorce, but there are several steps that can make the process more bearable and allow for a more positive outcome:

  • Interview attorneys
  • Locate and make copies of important documents like mortgage and car titles, insurance policies, business licenses, financial records, bank statements, and income tax returns
  • Take inventory of valuable household items that should be considered later while splitting assets
  • Make a detailed list of monthly expenses, including utilities, rent or mortgage, childcare, kids' activities like sports or dance classes, school tuition, and insurance
  • Know what the respondent's income is, including any income from self-employment, stock dividends, and interest
  • Double-check credit history and evaluate both short- and long-term earning potential
  • Set goals for ideal custody arrangement, support amounts, and living arrangements
  • Get support from friends and family

What to do with an engagement ring after divorce?

Most courts follow state laws that consider an engagement ring to be the recipient's property once a wedding takes place, which means it remains that recipient's individual property even after a divorce. Other states categorize engagement rings as marital property and as such the ring is subject to the same division of assets as a house or art collection might be. For spouses who get to keep their jewelry, engagement rings can be sold, dismantled and repurposed, returned to the original buyer, or kept and handed down to any children the marriage may have produced.

What is divorce mediation?

When divorces get heated or even just have the potential to become messy, a neutral third party can help calm both parties and resolve issues without the need for a trial. This is called mediation. A great mediator is unbiased and invested in a balanced, fair outcome; they will ideally listen to both parties, encourage respectful discussions, and raise questions or concerns when appropriate. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare documents detailing the agreed-upon terms. Using a mediator only works if both sides are willing to meet and discuss a compromise, but doing so can save a considerable amount of time, money, emotional strain, and overall stress.

Read all FAQs