How to Become a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce Lawyer Careers & Degrees

A Divorce Lawyers will represent a client if they are married and thinking about ending a marriage and getting divorced.

A Divorce Lawyer may also assist and represent a client who is seeking to legally separate from their partner or thinking of annulling a marriage.

A Divorce Lawyer will consult and provide legal information to their client to determine the best method to end the marriage such as divorce, annulment or legal separation.

A variety of things need to be considered during this type of process including: whether the marriage produced children, whether a prenuptial agreement was written up and the financial information during the marriage.

A Divorce Lawyer will consider all this information before determining a plan of action and provide guidance to their client.

If you are interested in this type of career, continue reading below to learn the education requirements, a general job description, salary and wage information and the future job outlook for this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Divorce Lawyer

Candidates who want to become a Divorce Lawyer may already know that entering this field requires extensive knowledge of the law, both local and federal.

This requirement can only be met by completing several years of continuing education and passing the bar exam.

The requirements to become a Divorce Lawyer will vary by state but for the most part, candidates will need to finish a four year college degree and then attend three years of law school.

There isn’t a specific undergraduate program a candidate needs to focus on.

However, candidates who want to become a Divorce Lawyer should focus on certain skills and attain a multidisciplinary background that will prepare them to succeed in the field.

The following abilities will assist candidates throughout law school and in the field:

  • Analyzing
  • Researching
  • English
  • Public speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Government
  • A foreign language

In order to gain admission into a graduate law program approved by the American Bar Association (ABA), candidates must have a strong academic background and a competitive GPA, complete the
LSAT exam, work experience and depending on the institution, an interview.

For a list of law programs, visit LSAC‘s website.

Finally, after the completion of all these requirements, candidates will need to take and pass the bar exam.

The majority of states require candidates to take Multistate Bar Examination MBE.

Washington and Louisiana are the only states that do not require the MBE.

Divorce Lawyer Job Description

Lawyers are highly trained and educated professionals who use their knowledge of the legal system in order to represent, provide guidance and advocate for their clients.

Divorce Lawyers are attorneys who specialize in the separation, annulment or divorce of a marriage.

A Divorce Lawyer will help their client determine whether they should annul their marriage, seek a legal separation or submit papers for a divorce.

A Divorce Lawyer will begin by consulting with their client.

They will provide guidance to determine whether the married couple should legally separate, divorce or annul a marriage.

In addition, they will advise their clients regarding their legal rights and recommend any actions a client should pursue.

A Divorce Lawyer may represent and advocate for their client during a court session.

They will submit their case and provide information to a judge keeping their client’s needs and requests in mind.

Divorce Lawyer Salary and Career Path

The exact wages and salary for a licensed lawyer will depend on several factors including sector and specialty, whether they work for a government or a private practice and location.

In addition, salary varies depending on whether a lawyer owns their practice or if they are partnered with a law firm.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the wage for all practicing lawyers and estimates that the median wage in 2008 was approximately $110,590 per year.

The salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $74,900 to $163,300 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the job outlook for this profession is expected to grow faster than average.

This growth is attributed to a population growth that demands the legal expertise of experienced attorneys.

Through the year 2018, attorney employment will grow by about 13%.

However, professionals entering this field should expect stiff competition from other candidates.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$145,300
$59K
$80K
$145K
$186K
$K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$114,240
Alaska$115,260
Arizona$136,170
Arkansas$94,000
California$173,970
Colorado$150,630
Connecticut$154,610
Delaware- NA -
District of Columbia$192,180
Florida$130,010
Georgia$130,320
Hawaii$109,420
Idaho$105,450
Illinois$157,010
Indiana$111,790
Iowa$119,700
Kansas$110,290
Kentucky$102,980
Louisiana$108,070
Maine$106,350
Maryland$135,500
Massachusetts$164,800
Michigan$116,310
Minnesota$124,510
Mississippi$95,040
Missouri$109,820
Montana$83,030
Nebraska$112,860
Nevada$131,190
New Hampshire$126,220
New Jersey$147,170
New Mexico$103,290
New York$168,780
North Carolina$133,290
North Dakota$113,280
Ohio$124,160
Oklahoma$116,270
Oregon$116,860
Pennsylvania$142,890
Rhode Island$124,600
South Carolina$111,090
South Dakota$112,810
Tennessee$124,370
Texas$144,110
Utah$134,770
Vermont$104,790
Virginia$143,220
Washington$129,550
West Virginia$102,040
Wisconsin$129,440
Wyoming$100,090
Guam$96,540
Puerto Rico$71,030
Virgin Islands$127,860

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $192,180.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $192,180
California - $173,970
New York - $168,780
Massachusetts - $164,800
Illinois - $157,010
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Lawyers, OCC Code 23-1011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a divorce lawyer do?

A divorce lawyer is someone who is responsible for the division of debts and assets between spouses.

Divorce lawyers can also help set the terms of child support and child custody if there is a child involved in the process.

The typical duties of a divorce lawyer usually include taking care of detailed paperwork (that should be compiled and then submitted to the court); gathering supporting evidence in each case and the performance of thorough research; carrying out the separation through court orders, and so on.

Usually, a divorce takes 3-12 months to finalize.

A lawyer can work for a private company or in a law firm.

QuestionHow much do divorce lawyers make?

On average, a divorce lawyer can make a little less than $80.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to choose this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $51.000 and $156.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on.

Divorce lawyers that work in the District of Columbia, New York, and California, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level divorce lawyer can earn around $14.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $298.00 and more per hour.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a divorce lawyer?

You would certainly need a bachelor’s degree, in order to become a divorce lawyer (in any major).

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

Aspiring divorce lawyers would then be required to take an entrance exam (Law Schools Admission Test); it will cost you over $180, however, you might want to invest in study guides and practice tests.

You should then apply to a law school (around $26.000-$43.000).

After graduating, future divorce lawyers take the bar exam (about $6.700) and might choose to receive a certification in family law (around $2.000).

QuestionWhat is the demand for divorce lawyers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the lawyer job market (including divorce lawyers) is expected to grow by 8.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is close to the average for all occupations in the United States.

40% to 50% of all marriages in the USA end in divorce; that’s why a lot of clients seek out divorce lawyers’ services.

The industry is mainly concentrated in New York, California, and Florida.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a divorce lawyer?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

It is recommended that students spend 150-300 hours on the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test) prep.

If your scores are high enough, you will be accepted to law school; be prepared to spend at least 3 years as a full-time student.

The bar prep course can take you around 2 months; to become a certified family law specialist, you would have to pass an exam and spend at least 25% of your professional time over the course of five years practicing family law.

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