Most people expect that a separation and divorce will take about one to two years to complete. That is partly due to the fact that some states will insist that couples try a one-year legal separation first. If you want to get your divorce through the courts a little sooner, hire a divorce attorney. The following presents some questions and concerns that a lot of people in your position might express, including the answers your attorney might give.
How Long Will a Divorce Attorney Work for You?
As long as you have money in the retainer account, as long as you need him/her, and/or as long as you pay the bills presented to you, an attorney will continue to work for you. However, both you and the attorney have the right to terminate your lawyer/client relationship at any time. He/she can decide to no longer represent you, and you can fire him/her, even though you have a written contract for representation. Your lawyer may also choose to stop representing you and sue you for services rendered, so it is in your best interests to keep your legal bills paid!
What If the Ex Continues to Pursue the Various Issues and Division of Property in Court?
It is sad, but divorcing couples can get very petty. You want your divorce to be over and done with in the shortest amount of time possible, but maybe your ex wants to drag things out for ten years. If you need your attorney to keep working for you during all of this, he/she can, but most people find that they are tapped out of money to pay for a lawyer after about the first year or two.
Can You Get a Court-Appointed Lawyer to Represent You in Court for Free?
Nope, divorce lawyers never come free, and they are never appointed by the courts for any means. The only lawyers appointed by the courts during divorce proceedings are guardians-ad-litem, who are supposed to determine custody and visitation issues for the children and make recommendations for what is in the best interests of the kids. Even then, these lawyers are not free, as the courts will split the cost of the guardian-ad-litem's fees between you and your ex. If you qualify based on income, the courts may decide to reduce the fees to an amount that you are then expected to pay. (Only criminal lawyers are available for free.)