If you and your spouse have decided to part ways, you may want to be prepared for the process. Divorce is not a "one and done" type of thing, and even simple and uncontested divorces can take a lot longer than expected. If you have minor children and a good amount of property, you may be in for an unexpectedly complicated process. Knowing what's ahead is important, so read on to learn more about the path to divorce.
A Legal Separation
Don't overlook this first step in the process; the successful creation of this document could help pave the way for a less-complicated divorce process. You can have a comprehensive legal separation agreement "folded into" your final divorce decree, so take some time to plan for it now. What should this separation cover? Consider making provisions for child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, debt and property divisions, and more.
A Divorce Petition
In some states, this document is known as a letter of complaint or an original petition. When you see or hear about someone being served with divorce papers, this is the document they are served. It covers the basic information about the case, including who is suing who for divorce, and, if you live in a state that still allows divorces that name grounds, who is at fault and why.
If you have not already addressed important issues in the separation agreement, topics like child support will be covered using a series of temporary orders.
Information sharing takes place in this pretrial phase, which involves the requesting and submissions of financial statements and question and answer forms and meetings (depositions).
Instead of battling it out in court, which can be costly, time-consuming and stressful, consider using divorce mediation. A special mediator is called upon to conduct meetings between both spouses where contentious issues are addressed one at a time.
If you are lucky enough to have an uncontested divorce, your time in court may be very short. An appearance by one party (the petitioner or plaintiff) is all that is usually necessary. If a mediator was not able to smooth things over sufficiently, the court case may proceed and last for weeks or even months.
The Final Decree
At the end, the final petition will be rendered, and it most cases the results will be permanent orders dealing with debt, property and more. You should understand, however, that any provisions dealing with minor children remain open and subject to alterations as children grow and as the parents go through their own changes in income and martial status.
For more information, contact a law firm like Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP.
Going through a divorce? I know how you might feel – alone, stressed out, and probably even a little sad due to the loss of the life you have always known. Whether you have children or not, you might even feel a little guilty about the break down of your relationship. But I'm here to tell you that a divorce is not the end of the world. In fact, once you get used to the idea and start to move on with your life, you may find just as much, if not more, happiness than you ever had while you were married! Getting through the proceedings of your divorce in a dignified manner is the first step, and hopefully this website will give you the insight, support, and motivation you need to get through the process as painlessly as possible.