Divorce, dissolution of marriage or separation present legal challenges and are difficult to endure. In this otherwise serious area of law, we acknowledge the creatively direct message by a Chicago law firm, "Life's short. Get a divorce".
Every case is different. The laws and procedural rules vary from state to state. But divorce cases generally follow one of two paths: The parties reach an agreement, whether on their own or with the assistance of a mediator, then submit that agreement to the court for approval, and receive a divorce or dissolution decree ending their marriage and setting forth the terms they've agreed upon; or, if unable to agree, the case will go before a judge who will consider evidence like financial records, witness testimony, and expert reports on issues such as valuation of property and custody arrangements.
If you are able to work together and the issues aren't too complex, you may be able to manage your dissolution case without having to formally retain an attorney. You can buy a self-help book with tear-out forms, or download software that will organize and print everything for you. Additional legal forms can be purchased online and downloaded to your computer where you can complete and print them, ready for filing, as needed.
If either party becomes uncooperative or there are complicated issues in the case (e.g., most dissolution cases require a professional's assistance with income and retirement account calculations), you'll need to consult a family law attorney. You can search the Legal.com Attorney NetworkTM to find the right lawyer.