Archive for February, 2014

A Profile of Mississippi Divorce Attorneys: Part II

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Divorce attorneys—we all know of them, but how much do we really know about them?  In Part I of this two part series profiling the Mississippi divorce attorney, we addressed some basics about what a divorce lawyer is, when divorce law developed, and how one becomes a divorce attorney.  In this segment, we will continue our study on divorce attorneys, looking at the commonality of the practice, average pay scale, and the reason behind all those lawyer jokes.

How many divorce lawyers are there in Mississippi?

There are over 7,000 active resident attorneys in the state of Mississippi.  This amounts to approximately 23 lawyers per 10,000 residents, which is actually below the U.S. average of nearly 40 attorneys per 10,000 residents.  There is no official organization that provides data on the number of attorneys practicing within a specialty, however, a search of the website avvo.com, which allows users to rank attorneys, reveals over 100 divorce lawyers in the state.  Justia.com, another lawyer ranking site, lists over 200.  There are likely many more firms in the state who handle divorces as part of a more general practice.  In the Jackson area, over 60 attorneys advertise themselves as divorce attorneys.

What is the average salary of a Mississippi divorce attorney?

Divorce lawyers nationally earn an average of $56,000 annually, which is on the lower end of average for attorneys across all disciplines nationwide.  Salaries can vary greatly by region with those in the South typically earning less, though lower cost of living can equalize these two factors.

How many divorces occur each year?

A divorce occurs every 13 seconds in the U.S.  Over a two million couples will wed each year, and over a million couples will divorce.  Mississippi has a slightly higher than average number of divorces a year, with 4 individuals per every 1,000 obtaining a divorce.

Is the field of divorce law expected to grow?

Divorce law, and its broader accompaniment of family law, is expected to continue to grow as an industry.  Employment of divorce lawyers is expected to increase 13% in the coming years.  Interestingly, statisticians show that as the economy improves, the number of divorces will actually increase.  It is theorized that individuals in troubled marriages choose to wait out the worst of an economic turndown before feeling comfortable enough to finally pursue the divorce they have wanted.  Therefore, as our economy continues to shakily climb, the number of divorces might jump in coming years, meaning more business for divorce lawyers.

Why do attorneys have such bad reputations?

We have all likely heard a number of lawyer jokes and perhaps laughed at a lawyer’s expense.  While the public perception of lawyers is not all bad, some negative associations do seem to follow the practice.  One possible reason for this is the simple fact that people tend to only need an attorney when something has gone wrong, often terribly wrong, in their lives.  Whether it be a bitter divorce, criminal charges, or financial woes, you see an attorney when you are at your worst which might tend to color your perception of the field.

The media also has much to do with the bad reputation of lawyers.  Television shows and movies often depict the stereotypical greedy or money hungry attorney.  Further, the sensationalizing of certain lawsuits, such as the McDonald’s hot coffee suit, has led some to form a negative opinion of lawyers as greedy and willing to bring frivolous suits.

Despite unfair media depictions, most attorneys, particularly divorce attorneys, enter the profession with the desire to help their clients.  Divorce lawyers understand that they are assisting their clients through what is likely the lowest point of their lives.  With their unique skill set, thorough research, and dedication, divorce attorneys can lead clients through divorce to a brighter future.

The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole: Providing Skilled and Compassionate Representation

At The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole, we care deeply about each of our clients and devote an inordinate amount of time and study to ensuring our clients obtain the best possible outcome from their divorce.  Call attorney Matthew S. Poole today at (601) 573-7429 to see how he can begin shaping your tomorrow.

A Profile of Mississippi Divorce Attorneys: Part I

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

You are likely confronted with advertisements for divorce attorneys every day.  Law firms and private practitioners frequently utilize print ads in magazines and newspapers, internet media, radio commercials, and television spots to market their practice.  You could probably name a few of the divorce attorneys in your area and you may even have experience using such an attorney.  Despite the popularity of lawyers and their active presence in the community, many people know very little about divorce attorneys.  The following is a profile of Mississippi divorce attorneys, intended to provide you with a glimpse into the lives of the lawyers who dedicate themselves to helping individuals obtain a divorce:

What is a divorce attorney?

A divorce attorney is a lawyer who specializes in issues pertaining to divorce, which generally includes annulment, dissolution, and, of course, divorce.  Many divorce attorneys are family law practitioners, who will represent clients concerning a plethora of issues relating to the family, such as adoption, termination of parental rights, or wills and estates.  Divorce attorneys are well versed in the areas of alimony, child support, child custody, division of property, and the like.

When did divorce law develop?

Couples have sought and been granted divorces since ancient times.  The Athenians were liberally allowed to divorce but had to submit a request to a magistrate, who then determined whether the reasons provided were sufficient.  As the Roman Empire developed, Roman civil law moved towards a liberal divorce policy wherein the husband or wife could renounce the marriage at will.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, divorce became prohibited, though the Church still recognized annulment and separation of husband and wife.  Civil courts had no authority over marriage or divorce, with the Church and ecclesiastical courts being the sole authority on these matters.

After the Reformation, marriage came to be considered a civil contract, and civil authorities could thereby decree the contract broken, or in other words grant a divorce.  The institution evolved from there, with divorce law slowly developing apart from the dictates of the Church.

In the United States, the first divorces were recorded by the colonists.  The institution continued to evolve, with divorce growing more and more common, and laws increasingly liberal.  The twentieth century marked a stunning increase in the rate of divorce here in the U.S. and in many industrialized nations.  The rising divorce rate has been attributed to changes to social attitudes towards family and sex.

How does one become a divorce attorney?

Becoming a divorce attorney in Mississippi requires several years of school and numerous rigorous tests.  All individuals wishing to practice law in the state of Mississippi must be admitted to the Mississippi Bar.  In order to be admitted to the Bar, you must pass the Bar Examination. To sit for the bar examination, individuals must: 1) be over the age of 21; 2) have received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or have completed three years of credits from a college offering an integrated six-year prelaw course; 3) have completed law school at a school approved by the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the American Bar Association. In addition, a thorough character and fitness assessment is also required. Certain criminal convictions as well as traffic tickets or significant debts can be grounds for rejecting an applicant.

Upon meeting these stringent requirements, an individual will be permitted to register and sit for the Mississippi Bar examination.  The bar exam consists of extensive testing spread out over two days, where the applicant is required to show his or her proficiency in a broad range of legal topics, including constitutional law, real property, administrative law, bankruptcy, and criminal law.  Those who pass this rigorous exam will be granted admission to the Mississippi Bar, and will then be allowed to practice law in the state.

The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole: A Mississippi Divorce Firm of Distinction

The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole is a boutique Jackson area law firm that will meet all of your divorce, family law, and real estate needs.  Matthew S. Poole spent years pursuing his legal education and hopes now that his expertise can be used to benefit you.  Call Matthew today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free initial consultation.

As the Economy Recovers, Many Predict the Divorce Rate May Actually Climb

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

It seems to run contrary to logic.  We have all heard that finances are the number one cause of divorce.  In light of this fact, it is easy to assume that the divorce rate would be at its highest in a down economy.  However, new studies reveal that the opposite might be accurate.  Divorce predictors divine that as the economy continues to shakily find its footing and enter a path to recovery, the number of divorces each year will actually increase.

Here is a look at the reasons behind the rise in divorces at a time when the economy is improving:

  1. Falling house prices, rising inflation, and high rates of unemployment may have put strain on the relationship—for some couples, the recent recession, and the ensuing housing crisis, caused the breakdown of their relationship.  Financial woes are the most common cause of divorce, and this downtrodden economy likely left the marriage of many couples in shambles.  Despite agreement between the spouses that the marriage was over, some couples put off filing for divorce for the reason discussed in number two below.
  2. The poor economy forced couples to stay together—during the economic downturn, many couples elected to stay together not out of love or devotion, but because they could not afford to do otherwise.  Many families struggled with underwater homes and joblessness.  A couple’s home, pre-recession, was generally one of the largest assets to divide.  With plummeting home values, divorcing during the housing crisis would have left many individuals with grave financial losses.  Further, if one or more spouse was out of work, it took both spouses pulling together to simply provide for the basic needs of themselves and their children.  Lastly, some couples could not afford the expense of a divorce during the recession times.  Accordingly, the most recent recession likely forced numerous unhappy couples to stay together.
  3. As the economy grows, people can again afford to divorce—the recession pushed many couples to desire divorce, and while the down economy forced spouses to stay married, today’s improving economy has provided them with the financial stability to seek that divorce they have been putting off.  As the housing market continues to rise, couples can once again count on their homes to provide a major source of marital assets.  The rate of joblessness has diminished, so many spouses now feel confident enough in the job market to set out on their own.  Further, more couples can simply afford the cost of divorce.  The number one concern of divorcing parties is the expense.  Divorce can come at a high price, between attorney’s fees, court fees, accountant expenses, and the like.  Obtaining a divorce while the economy was sluggish was simply impossible for some.

For these reasons, many researchers and divorce lawyers predict that the coming years will see a rise in the number of divorces.  This phenomenon is not unique to the United States.  In Britain, divorce rates reached new lows in 2008, just as the country’s economy was devastated by the financial crisis.

If you have made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse, The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole can help.  Matthew S. Poole is a dedicated, compassionate divorce attorney with a stellar reputation in the community and years of experience in the arena of divorce law.  At The Law Office of Matthew S. Poole, we understand that concerns of expense can lead to delay in seeking your divorce.  We are always open and up front about our fees and willing to work with you to see you obtain that divorce you desire.  Call Matthew today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free initial consultation.