Preparing for the Step-by-Step Divorce Process

Although divorce is frequent in the United States, it differs based on the couple’s circumstances. Typically, long-term marriages with major marital debt, minor kids, and property entanglements produce more complex divorces than short-term marriages with no children or property. In addition, those who agree to cooperate with each other during divorce proceedings will have a more inexpensive and less stressful separation than those who refuse to cooperate.

Divorce Petition Filing

When a couple decides to divorce, they must first submit a legal petition requesting the court for a marriage termination. The spouse who will file it needs to submit the information below:

  • A document submitted to the court stating that at least one spouse fulfills the divorce residency requirements of the state
  • Legal grounds for filing the divorce
  • Other state legislative facts, such as the state’s law regarding divorce

Residents of different regions may have different residency requirements. States almost always require that one spouse resides in the state for at least three to twelve months while the other spouse live in the area where they filed the papers for at least ten days to six months before filing a petition. For the court to accept a divorce case, the parties must meet the state’s residency requirement.

Successfully Reach an Agreement

Both couples should come up with a resolution when one or both parties disagree on critical issues, such as property distribution support or child custody. If both spouses aren’t on the same page regarding their children, hiring a child custody attorney often helps draw a conclusion.

A settlement conference entails both parties meeting with their lawyers to discuss the case’s details. Mediation, when a neutral third party facilitates communication between the couple to resolve residual concerns, may be scheduled by the court. Some states issue mediation participation as a requirement, whereas it is not required in others. It also helps save a lot of money and time during divorce proceedings. Therefore, it’s an excellent option for many divorced spouses.

A Temporary Order Request

Couples, in some situations, will be unable to wait for a divorce. A common scenario would be a parent who stays at home and depends on their partner for support financially. Having to wait six months before hearing the finalization of the divorce is too long. For the time between the divorce petition and the finalization of the divorce, the court will allow the spouse to ask for temporary orders for spousal support, child support, and child custody.

Before deciding how to make a ruling on the case, the court will hold a hearing and gather relevant facts from each spouse. Orders are typically granted promptly, and those granted are valid until either the court sets aside the order or until the judge has finalized the divorce proceedings.

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Divorce law varies by state. Even if this is the case, every state offers couples the choice to pursue a no-fault divorce where divorce proceedings become a streamlined process. Couples can file a petition without providing a legal reason or the opportunity to cast blame on the other spouse. Under some circumstances, one party can seek blame for the collapse of the marriage. Adultery or neglect might be considered grounds for a fault-based divorce in certain states. It is important to get advice from an expert family law lawyer on whether to pursue a fault or no-fault divorce.

Divorce Trial

Negotiations might fail even when both partners put up their utmost effort. If there are still unresolved problems after the mediation and other discussions, the parties will be forced to petition the court for assistance, which means undergoing a trial. A divorce trial is expensive and takes up a lot of time and a total loss of power for the spouses. Mediation and negotiation sessions help couples retain control of the situation and result in predictable outcomes. Therefore, it’s best to avoid trial proceedings.

Determining the Final Judgment

Whether couples decided on the major concerns and negotiations throughout the divorce process, the final decision only comes after the judge signs the divorce judgment. The order of dissolution means the termination of the marriage. It puts down particular terms about spousal and child support, asset distribution, and debt allocation. Typically, when the parties have settled their differences, the filing spouse’s lawyer will draft the divorce judgment. The judge will give the final order, regardless of whether the couple went underwent a divorce trial.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, divorce is a mutual decision reached by both parties. However, there are also times when one partner makes the decision without consulting the other. Although there may be problems to overcome, a couple should only pursue a divorce if one party doesn’t want to be in the marriage anymore. Before a couple may divorce, both will have to decide how to raise the children and hold financial assets. Additionally, they must prepare and file the necessary documents with the court.

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