What Is The Difference Between A Divorce Lawyer And Attorney? How to Choose One?

If you are going through a divorce, you may be wondering what kind of legal professional you need to hire to help you with the process.

You may have heard the terms “divorce lawyer” and “attorney” used interchangeably, but are they really the same thing?

Divorce lawyer vs defense attorney
Family Lawyer vs. Divorce Lawyer[PHOTO COURTESY OF DRENDENS & JACKSONS]
What are the main differences between a divorce lawyer and an attorney, and how do they affect your case?

RELATED : What If I Can’t Afford A Divorce Attorney? A Practical Guide

What is a divorce lawyer?

A divorce lawyer is a type of family law lawyer who specializes in divorce cases.

Family law is a broad area of law that covers various issues related to family relationships, such as marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, adoption, domestic violence, and more.

A Divorce LawyeR
A Divorce Lawyer [PHOTO COURTESY OF FITZ SOLICTORS]
A divorce lawyer is a family law lawyer who focuses on helping clients end their marriages legally and fairly.Divorce lawyer can provide various services to their clients, such as:

  • Advising them on their rights and obligations under the law
  • Negotiating with the other party or their lawyer on issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation
  • Drafting and filing legal documents such as petitions, motions, agreements, and orders
  • Representing them in court hearings and trials
  • Protecting their interests and advocating for their goals

A divorce lawyer can also help their clients with other related matters, such as:

  • Modifying or enforcing existing court orders
  • Obtaining restraining orders or protective orders
  • Mediating or arbitrating disputes
  • Collaborating with other professionals such as financial experts, therapists, or counselors

What is an attorney?

An attorney is a general term for a person who has completed a course of legal education and has passed a state bar exam.

An image of a couple getting divorced
Divorce mediator [Photo courtesy of Family Ties]
A bar exam is a test that measures a person’s knowledge and competence to practice law in a specific jurisdiction.An attorney can provide legal advice and representation to clients in various areas of law, such as criminal law, civil law, business law, tax law, environmental law, intellectual property law, and more.She can also specialize in a particular field of law by obtaining additional education, training, or certification.

An attorney can perform similar services as a divorce lawyer, such as:

  • Advising clients on their legal rights and obligations
  • Negotiating with the other party or their lawyer on various issues
  • Drafting and filing legal documents
  • Representing clients in court hearings and trials
  • Protecting clients’ interests and advocating for their goals

An attorney can also help clients with other legal matters that may arise from or affect their divorce case, such as:

  • Dealing with tax implications or consequences of divorce
  • Handling business or financial transactions or disputes
  • Protecting intellectual property rights or assets
  • Resolving immigration or citizenship issues

What are the main differences between a divorce lawyer and an attorney?

Technically speaking, all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce? The Pros and Cons of DIY Divorce Courtesy: (Karolina Grabowska)
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Divorce? The Pros and Cons of DIY Divorce
Courtesy: (Karolina Grabowska)

A lawyer is someone who has earned a law degree (a juris doctor degree and/or a bachelor of laws degree), but has not passed the bar exam or has not been admitted to the state bar.

If a lawyer does this, they can be charged with the unlawful practice of law despite having a law degree.

An attorney is someone who has earned a law degree and has passed the bar exam. An attorney has a license and the right to practice law in the state where they are admitted.

Practically speaking, however, most lawyers are in the process of becoming attorneys.

An attorney can represent clients in court or other legal proceedings.

An attorney must also comply with the state’s rules of professional conduct, which provide guidelines for how an attorney must conduct their practice ethically and responsibly.

Many people who have graduated from law school take the bar exam soon after graduation or within a few years.

Some people may work as lawyers for a while before they pass the exam or become attorneys.

Therefore, the terms “divorce lawyer” and “attorney” are often used interchangeably by legal professionals and laypeople alike.

The main difference between a divorce lawyer and an attorney is not so much in their titles or qualifications, but in their areas of expertise and experience.

A divorce lawyer is an attorney who specializes in family law and divorce cases. An attorney may or may not have experience or knowledge in family law or divorce cases.

Therefore, when choosing a legal professional to help you with your divorce case, you should look for someone who has relevant skills and experience in handling similar cases.

How to choose the right legal professional for your divorce case?

Divorce is a complex and stressful process that involves many legal issues and decisions.

image of divorcing couple
Family Lawyer vs. Divorce Lawyer[PHOTO COURTESY OF GUARDIAN LAW]
Therefore, it is important to hire a qualified and experienced legal professional who can guide you through the process and protect your rights and interests.Here are some tips on how to choose the right legal professional for your divorce case:

  • Do your research.

You can search online for divorce lawyers or attorneys in your area, or ask for referrals from friends, family, or other professionals.

Check the websites of the state bar association or the local bar association for a list of licensed and reputable legal professionals in your area.

  • Compare and contrast.

You should contact several potential legal professionals and schedule initial consultations with them.

During the consultation, you should ask them about their background, education, experience, fees, availability, communication style, and approach to your case.

You should also ask them for references from previous clients or other professionals.

  • Trust your instincts.

You should choose a legal professional who makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Choose someone who listens to you, understands your goals and concerns, and respects your preferences and opinions.

You should avoid someone who pressures you, makes unrealistic promises, or has a bad reputation or record.

Conclusion

Divorce lawyer and attorney are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and implications.

A divorce lawyer is an attorney who specializes in family law and divorce cases.

An attorney is a person who has a law degree and a license to practice law in a state.

The main difference between a divorce lawyer and an attorney is not in their titles or qualifications, but in their areas of expertise and experience.

Therefore, when choosing a legal professional to help you with your divorce case, you should look for someone who has relevant skills and experience in handling similar cases.

 

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