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Divorce, or “dissolution of marriage,” is the legal termination of the marital relationship. The divorce process is handled by family law attorneys (each estranged spouse retains his or her own counsel) and involves a number of issues, ranging from division of property to child custody.

While it’s important to hire a lawyer who is skilled and knowledgeable, it is also crucial to find an attorney with whom you feel comfortable on a personal level. Divorce is generally an intensely emotional process, requiring delicate people skills in addition to legal know-how.

In some limited cases, completing a divorce without hiring a lawyer may make sense, as long as neither party has representation, and there are no minor children involved (FindLaw sells do-it-yourself divorce packages). But most divorces, particularly those involving dependent children and/or complicated property issues, go more favorably with the counsel of a divorce attorney. And if your estranged spouse has an attorney, it’s always wise to hire one yourself.