The terms ‘lawyer’ and ‘attorney’ are often used interchangeably to refer to a legal practitioner. Does it matter? Well, in countries that do not maintain a significant difference between them anyway, not so much. But in the United States, there is a vast difference between a lawyer and an attorney. While it is easy to find a good Divorce attorney in Belleville, IL, you must know what kind of legal practitioner you need to hire for your divorce.
According to the American Bar Association and other bar associations across the States, a lawyer holds a law degree. In the United States, this means receiving a Juris Doctor degree from a recognized law school in the country. In contrast, an Attorney is an individual who has a Juris Doctor degree and has completed all the necessary licensing requirements required to practice law. This generally means that they have passed the bar exam in a particular jurisdiction.
The term ‘attorney’ is derived from the French word ‘atorné,’ meaning ‘to appoint someone to protect your interests.’ This is exactly what an attorney does in court. In the event of a divorce, it is often necessary to hire a legal professional to represent you, either in the capacity of a negotiator or as a representative during court proceedings. The expertise offered by a lawyer and an attorney are vastly different, and identifying the right person to approach can make the legal process a lot smoother.
How can an attorney help you in court? Here are a few pointers:
Dissolution of Property
A married couple makes various important purchases as a joint unit. This can include bank accounts, land, vehicles, stock securities, and anything else that can be quantified in financial terms. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, the dissolution of these properties can be a time-consuming and long-drawn affair. Employing an experienced divorce lawyer can help during the negotiation process. An amicable settlement is the best possible outcome, but if it is impossible to reach an agreement, the situation goes to court. At this stage, you need to employ a divorce attorney who can represent you with skill.
Domestic abuse is undoubtedly solid grounds for divorce. However, it cannot be settled through negotiation and requires the involvement of an attorney. If you have filed for divorce because your partner was abusive, you may need relief other than the legal recognition of your separation. You could, for instance, file a restraining order, seek compensation for your injury and strive for adequate justice. An attorney can follow through with this process in court and provide you with the best options from a legal standpoint.
You are well within your rights to file a criminal case against your abusive partner. If you choose to do so, an attorney is all but indispensable for you to emerge vindicated.
Child Support and Custody
Very often, a child’s well-being incurs huge costs when their parents opt for a divorce. It is essential to acknowledge and protect their interests alongside yours and your partner’s. If it is impossible to mutually agree on custody or visitation rights for a minor child, your only viable option is to get an attorney and take it to court. An attorney can help protect your parental rights and educate you on the various reliefs you can get through a court of law.
Going to a court through an attorney can help you obtain a legal right to receive alimony from your ex-spouse. What is alimony, you ask? It is financial support that one partner agrees to extend to the other post-divorce. The objective of creating this obligation is to ensure that the spouse who has significantly less capacity to earn does not drop into poverty because of the divorce. Alimony can be temporary or permanent; your jurisdiction will decide that for you.
All attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys. The difference between them is significant, and the services each of them can offer considerably differ. While a lawyer is someone you can turn to for legal advice or deciding the next course of action, an attorney is someone who can take the case forward in the courts. The distinction is particularly pronounced in divorce cases. If a mutual understanding cannot be arrived at over issues like custody and dissolution of properties, an attorney is your best chance to fight for your rights in court.