Although most experts agree with this figure, there are factors that dramatically affect it both positively and negatively. For example, the divorce rate for a first marriage is just 41 percent, but for a third one it is a far less promising 73 percent. We also know that rates decline precipitously based on the age of the couple. Those who get hitched during their teenage years are about five times more likely to split up than those who say “I do” in their mid-thirties.
Married With Kids
In most cases, the dissolution of marriage is a fairly simple legal procedure; unless children are involved. Parents are generally reluctant to fracture the family unit. Couples with kids have a much lower break-up rate of about 33 percent compared to 66 percent for childless couples. The legal process is also far more complicated, expensive, and emotionally traumatic when kids are involved because many parents hire a divorce lawyer and file for custody.
When one or both parties petition for custody, a hearing is held to determine the arrangement that serves the best interests of the minor child or children. These custody hearings are often highly emotional affairs and it is always best to hire an experienced attorney to represent you in court.
What To Look For
Most parents would move heaven and earth for their kids, but a divorce lawyer can’t be paid with passion. Most demand retainers up front before they even start working on your case. They do this because child custody cases often take a long time to resolve. An experienced attorney is also aware that the free representation available through family court is not a desirable option for most parents. These mothers and fathers desperately want custody of their kids and are willing to pay for talent.
Just like a prizefighter, a divorce lawyer is only as good as his/her record or reputation. Clients hire them based in large part on their winning percentage, i.e., how often they emerge victorious in child custody cases. It is also important to consider the number of cases the attorney has successfully litigated in court. If he/she is only a part-time family lawyer, winning percentage might be misleading. Therefore, make sure you only contact professionals who specialize in family law and not in some other area of legal practice.
Another reason it’s important to hire family lawyers is that they often have access to experts in the field, including accountants, child psychologists, and private investigators. When interviewing prospective legal representatives, always ask them if they have any experts they customarily use. It may also be a good idea to select an attorney who commonly represents either men or women since gender sometimes plays a part in the judge’s decision.