If you and your spouse are about to be involved in a divorce, you may be slightly surprised to find out that the process is anything but quick and easy. Even uncontested divorces can take some time to accomplish, and knowing what's in store could help relieve some of the uncertainty of the unknown. To get a quick primer on divorce, step by step, read on.
The legal separation: You should know that not every state allows couples to participate in a legal separation, but for those that do this often overlooked part of divorce can be invaluable. Once one of you leaves the residence of the other, see an attorney for help in crafting a legal separation agreement to cover areas like child custody, alimony, child support, debts and more.
The divorce petition: This is known by different names in different states (original petition, letter of complaint, etc), but this document is filed with the court and explains the couple's intent to divorce. This document comprises what is meant by "getting served with divorce papers'. The document names the person filing for divorce as the petitioner (or plaintiff) and the person being served as the defendant. If your state allows divorcing for a reason, this document will state that reason.
Temporary orders: Until the divorce is final, these orders serve to address various issues that need addressing, such as child support, spousal support, etc. These orders, though temporary, should be taken seriously and a failure to do so could result in severe penalties.
Discovery: This part of the divorce process is meant to allow information gathering and sharing by both sides. This includes:
1. Disclosures of facts and documents (such as financial statements)
2. Interrogatories that consist of questions for the parties that must be answered and returned to the requesting party.
3. Admissions of fact that lists facts that can be admitted to or denied by either party.
4. Depositions, where both parties appear and are questioned by the attorneys, under oath.
Mediation: If the parties are not in agreement, a mediator may be called in to help resolve some of the conflict before the case goes to court.
Court: Unresolved issues must be worked out in court, and both sides with have an opportunity to be heard by the judge, who will take a few days to render a judgment or divorce settlement.
Final decree: There can be no more bickering once the final decree has been handed down by the judge; both parties must sign the decree and agree to abide by it.
To find out more about the divorce process, speak with a divorce attorney, like one from Bergermann Law Firm.