Steps Toward A New Life: What To Expect With The Divorce Process

Since divorce can make for a confusing time for the parties, it probably helps to know what to expect. Below, you will find the steps that are usually taken in order. Your divorce might be slightly different, however, depending on whether or not you have minor children and on how much you and your spouse agree on issues like property and debt. Read on to find out more.

Live Separately and Legalize It

You don't have to live separately but most couples do part ways both rhetorically and geographically. The separation period encompasses the time between a divorce decision is made and the time the judge hands down the final decree. It is during the separation period that many parties come to realize that divorce is a series of actions rather than a single legal act. The things that happen during the separation period go on to compile the final divorce decree. You may live apart, but if you can agree on certain important aspects of the divorce your process will be smoother, less stressful, and even less expensive.

File for Divorce

You might want to be assertive when it comes to taking action. Once your spouse interviews a divorce lawyer, that attorney will be unable to represent you. The best divorce lawyers often recommend you be the one to make the first move since that puts your spouse on the defensive. The opening salvo in divorce is to serve the other party with divorce papers. This is known as a petition, complaint or prayer for relief and various other names and it spells out what you want in regard to custody, property, and debt issues.

Mediation to Resolve Issues

Not all states require mediation but this way of working out problems can be much better than having the judge to decide matters. Several sessions may be needed depending on what you disagree about. The results are made legal with a binding agreement and become part of the divorce.

Discover the Facts

Only divorces that involve complex issues will require discovery or divorce deposition. This legal method of sharing information is meant to make obvious issues that will be brought out later in court. For example, discovery might call for a spouse to provide access to certain financial information about a business.

Attend Court in Session

If everything has been worked out, the divorce can be over in a matter of minutes as the judge approves the agreement worked out by the lawyers and the parties. If not, the judge may order more research or mediation. For example, if child custody is at issue, the judge might order a child study to be performed to help them make a decision.

To find out more about this process, speak to a divorce lawyer at a company like McKone & Unruh.