Ending a marriage is more than just an emotional process--it's also a legal process. The court must approve your "dissolution of marriage" petition, and will also rule on issues related to the division of property, alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance), child custody and child support. A divorce or family law attorney can help guide you through the divorce process, while also negotiating with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and his or her divorce lawyer. It's important to note that ethics laws prohibit the same law firm or attorney from representing both spouses in a divorce. Even if your divorce is an amicable one, it's critical to have your own legal representation to ensure that you're treated fairly at all stages of the divorce proceeding.