Career Definition of a Divorce Lawyer
A divorce lawyer is an attorney who specializes in the type of law that deals with the dissolution of a marriage. Many divorces are granted following mediation through the divorce lawyers for both parties and do not require a court appearance. Tasks usually completed by the divorce lawyer are advising and negotiating decisions related to child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
|Educational and Licensing Requirements||Bachelor's and J.D. degree required|
|Job Skills||Strong written and verbal communication skills, detail-oriented, and good judgment|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$119,250 (all lawyers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2027)*||8% (all lawyers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A career in divorce law usually begins with a bachelor's degree followed by a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school. The budding divorce law attorney must then pass the state bar exams. Many states require additional experience in divorce law before the attorney can be considered certified to practice.
A attorney who specializes in divorce law often enjoys oral and written arguments. He or she will be skilled at investigating and reporting details. The responsibility for a fair and equitable divorce settlement will often rely on the divorce lawyer for each side.
Career and Economic Outlook
All types of legal careers are expected to grow at average rates, including divorce law. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment for lawyers will grow by 8% from 2016 through 2026. Earnings for divorce lawyers vary according to the type of practice and the location of the proceedings. The overall median salary of all lawyers was published as $119,250 by the BLS in May 2017.
Alternative Career Option
Individuals interested in divorce law and helping couples during the mediation process might consider an alternative career:
Arbitrator, Mediator and Conciliator
These career paths share some of the same duties as divorce lawyers, such as helping individuals settle their differences outside of the courtroom. Education paths vary and may include a law degree, a graduate program with an emphasis in conflict resolution, law or public policy, or a specialized certificate program. A 10% job growth was projected for this group from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS. The median salary for these professionals was $60,670 as of 2017.