How Much Do Divorce Lawyers Make? Salary, Outlook, & All You Need

How much do divorce lawyers make

Family lawyers, including divorce lawyers, earn an average annual compensation of $79,601 per year. In addition to their pay, divorce lawyers may be eligible for additional benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off. As a divorce lawyer, your pay will vary, however, depending on where you work, how much experience you have, and how many cases you manage. Basically, newer lawyers are likely to have fewer clients or work in a group with other lawyers. In addition, lawyers with less experience may demand cheaper fees.

Some lawyers decide whether to start their own practice or stay with their present firm as a partner. This gives you more flexibility in terms of how much you charge clients and which cases you accept.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at other details you should know about if you are thinking of a career down this path.


Divorce lawyers are experts who help clients with the legal aspects of divorce and legal separation. Divorce lawyers require particular skills, such as communication and problem-solving, in order to properly assist clients. If you’re considering this as a career, understanding more about the typical responsibilities, job outlook, and income for this position can help you decide if it’s suitable for you.

Let’s jump right in…

What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?

Divorce lawyers, often known as family lawyers, serve clients who are considering or are currently going through the divorce process.

The following are some of the responsibilities that divorce lawyers may have:

  • Assisting clients with the process of obtaining a legal divorce
  • Assisting clients with asset divisions
  • Interpreting the law for the benefit of clients
  • Preparing and filing legal documents, depending on the county and state where they work. They also advise clients on custody and separation issues.
  • Negotiating property and financial account ownership after a divorce.
  • Bringing child custody matters before a judge or in a civil court
  • Inquiring about witnesses and acquiring evidence for judicial cases

Divorce Lawyers Industry

According to Brown University’s definition, family law legal practice focuses on the connections of the people involved within a family setting. Divorce lawyers, also referred to as marital lawyers, handle disputes including child welfare, adoption, divorce, child abuse, legitimacy, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and marriages. A family law practice, which is typically a small business with a particular emphasis, relies on external experts such as therapists and accountants when dealing with severe marital issues.

For the most part, a divorce lawyer’s reputation is usually spread through word of mouth or publicity, and the client’s temperament influences his or her choice of a divorce lawyer.

Education Requirements for Divorce Lawyers

A college degree, whether in pre-law, English, history, sociology, or psychology, is excellent preparation for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT); a student must pass this test in order to be admitted to a law school. The test evaluates critical reading, analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, and persuasive writing skills, which are all necessary for success in law school. According to the Law School Entrance Council, it is the sole test acceptable for admission purposes by all ABA-accredited law schools.

Meanwhile, be wary of television and print advertisements for online and hybrid programming. The American Bar Association has only a few that are accredited and accepted. The bar exam is administered by each state, and you must pass that state’s test in order to practice law in that state.

In other words, if you live in one state and want to practice in another, sign up for the bar exam in the state where you wish to work.

Divorce Lawyers Outlook

According to Payscale, a family practice divorce lawyer can anticipate earning $70,000 in his first year, depending on his state, firm size, and demand for his services. The most significant gain in family lawyer pay occurs after ten years in the field, with a leap from $77,000 to $129,000. At this point, you can increase your expected income by becoming a partner in a firm, profit-sharing, or establishing your own firm.

However, as more lawyers graduate from law school and pass the bar exam, the legal profession is becoming increasingly crowded.

Meanwhile, you’ll also need to investigate whether your state allows new attorneys to practice in the field of divorce, and then pick which path you want to go with your legal career.

Skills for Divorce Lawyers

To accomplish their professions properly, divorce lawyers need a combination of soft and hard skils, including:


Analytical skills are required by divorce lawyers in order to evaluate the facts of cases.


Negotiation is a big part of a divorce lawyer’s job. They may be able to reach an agreement on a fair asset division or a child custody schedule that benefits both spouses.


As a divorce lawyer, you must have excellent verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Divorce lawyers not only comprehend their clients’ needs, but they also articulate them to a judge.


When divorce attorneys are not in court, they often perform research. They conduct study into the laws of the state in order to apply them to their cases.


Strong interpersonal skills are particularly necessary for divorce lawyers because they work with clients during one of the most difficult times of their lives.

Time Management:

Most divorce lawyers work with a number of different clients. It’s critical to be able to quickly manage each person’s research and court dates.

Project Management:

Divorce lawyers must also manage a number of different tasks. They might spend part of the day in court and the rest of the day visiting with prospective clients.


Solving problems is another crucial component of a divorce lawyer’s profession. They assist their clients in developing effective legal remedies.

How Do You Go About Becoming a Divorce Lawyer?

If you want to be a divorce lawyer, consider taking the following steps:

#1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

To enter law school, you must first have a bachelor’s degree. Students are not required to pursue a specific degree, but some choose to pursue a pre-law curriculum. This includes psychology, social work, and sociology, among other related majors. To be viable candidates for legal programs, students should maintain a solid GPA and gain community work experience.

Additionally, you should begin studying for the LSATs in your final year of undergraduate education. The Law School Admissions Test is a two-part multiple-choice exam that assesses a student’s readiness for law school. Students can apply to law schools after taking the LSAT.

#2. Complete Law School

Students must complete a recognized law school program in order to work as divorce lawyers. The American Bar Association (ABA) should also accredit the curriculum you choose. Entry-level legal studies and legal research make up the first year of law school. You can start taking specialized courses in your second year of law school.

Furthermore, if you want to be a divorce lawyer, you need to take family law and martial law programs. Many students do an internship during their second year of law school, and students interested in divorce law would need to complete theirs at a divorce law firm.

#3. Pass the Bar

An aspiring divorce lawyer must first pass their state’s bar exams before practicing law. This exam is only offered in the months of February and June. The Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination is the first section of the exam (MPRE), the Multi-State Essay Examination is the second component of the exam (MSEE) and then the Multi-State Performance Test is the third and final portion of the exam (MPT).

To work as a lawyer, students must get a passing grade on each section of the exam. You can attend a formal swearing-in ceremony and begin working as a lawyer after passing the test.

#4. Work for a Law Firm

You can start looking for jobs as a divorce lawyer once you’ve finished law school and passed the bar exam. You could start out as a junior lawyer, assisting other lawyers with their cases. As your skills improve and you have a better understanding of your state’s marital laws, you may be able to advance in the firm.

You can start your own practice after gaining experience in family law.

What Is the Average Salary for a Family Law Attorney?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual income for a Family Law Attorney in the United States is $98,523 per year as of June 11, 2022.

In case you need a quick salary calculation, that works out to be around $47.37 per hour. This equates to $1,895 each week or $8,210 per month.

While annual salaries can be as high as $156,000 and as low as $40,500, the majority of family law attorney salaries in the United States currently range from $75,000 (25th percentile) to $114,000 (75th percentile), with top earners (90th percentile) making $140,000 annually.

The general compensation for a family law attorney ranges significantly (up to $39,000), implying that there may be several prospects for development and improved pay dependent on skill level, region, and years of experience.

What Are the Top Ten Cities With the Highest Pay For Family Law Attorney Jobs?

According to ZipRecruiter, the table below cover ten cities where the average compensation for a family law attorney is higher than the national average. San Mateo, CA is at the top of the list, with Daly City, CA and Berkeley, CA coming in second and third, respectively. Berkeley, CA, outperforms the national average by $17,291 (17.6%), while San Mateo, CA, outperforms the national average by another $19,338 (19.6%).

With average incomes higher than the national average in these ten cities, the prospects for financial success as a family law attorney appear to be extremely promising.

Finally, the average pay in these top 10 cities differs just by 7% between San Mateo, CA and Merced, CA, emphasizing the little opportunity for wage advancement. When considering location and compensation for a family law attorney position, the likelihood of a cheaper cost of living may be the most important element to consider.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
San Mateo, CA$117,862$9,822$2,267$56.66
Daly City, CA$115,878$9,656$2,228$55.71
Berkeley, CA$115,814$9,651$2,227$55.68
Green River, WY$113,132$9,428$2,176$54.39
Irvine, CA$112,470$9,372$2,163$54.07
Richmond, CA$110,339$9,195$2,122$53.05
Orange, CA$109,324$9,110$2,102$52.56
Oxnard, CA$109,292$9,108$2,102$52.54
Tacoma, WA$109,277$9,106$2,101$52.54
Merced, CA$109,060$9,088$2,097$52.43
from ZipRecruiter

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