The Process Of Divorce
Divorce is challenging in many ways – emotionally, physically and financially. Day to day problems in your marriage and regular ego conflicts take away the peace of your mind. You want to be alone and come out of the marriage that has become stagnant. Divorce is the only alternative left. After you make up your mind to end your marital relationship, the next big worry haunting you is how to go about it. The process of divorce is a mystery for couples experiencing it for the first time.
Most of the couples spend first few days only talking about divorce because they do not know how to go about it. Divorce is definitely not an easy task. It is totally a legal matter and needs an expert legal advice. You can seek advice from friends, family and acquaintances regarding how to initiate divorce but rest that follows is a complete set of sequential steps.
Divorce laws are subject to Federal laws and thus, they differ from state to state. We have tried to entail the basic steps involved in the process of divorce.
Steps To Divorce:
- Find A Lawyer
The first and foremost step in seeking divorce is to find a good lawyer. The lawyer is the pillar of a successful divorce. Finding a good lawyer will require some effort on your part. When you look for a good lawyer, make a checklist of specific parameters like – back ground of the lawyer, experience in fighting specific divorce cases, comfort level, fee range, and so on. Although it’s a little tricky to find the perfect lawyer but not an impossible task. You must exercise your prudence and take necessary advice from friends and family.
- File Divorce Petition
The first legal step in divorce is filing the divorce petition. You can be first to file the petition and in that case you will be known as the “petitioner”. Your spouse will then answer the petition and become the “respondent”. It is the role of your attorney to prepare a good petition based on the information provided by you. The petition is filed in your state’s Family Court and tells the court about your intention to end your marriage which includes: expectations regarding alimony, child support, child custody, and others.
It is the duty of the other spouse to respond to the petition within the specified time. If the other party fails to respond to the petition then the court issues a divorce decree on its own.
- Temporary Orders
In many cases the court issues temporary orders to protect the interest of the either spouse. In case the court feels that some action should be taken immediately then it can issue orders related to child custody, maintenance or any other related issue. Both the spouses are legally bound to accept the temporary orders issued by the court.
Discovery is the process of court discovering the realities of your divorce case. The court orders the parties to submit important papers and documents related to your income, marital property, financial background, fitness for custody, and other related issues. Both the parties should be able to submit all the important documents to substantiate their stand or demands.
Based on the process of Discovery the court decides who will get what. Important decisions related to child custody, child support, visitation issues are also taken on the basis of this process.
Courts encourage the couples to settle their divorce by mutual consent. It provides the parties with a chance to negotiate and peacefully come to a fair settlement with the help of your attorney.
It depends on the couple whether they want divorce by settlement. If they reach a settlement, then the court revises the settlement papers and issues the divorce decree.
If the couple does not prefer to settle the issues on themselves then court hold the trial where both the parties have to fight their cause in front of the judge. This is a tedious process and might continue for long. This step involves cross examining the witnesses of both the parties and lots of questioning.
After the trial is over, the court issues the final divorce decree. In case you are not satisfied by the decree, you can re-appeal in the court.
This was an overview of a general divorce procedure as followed in most of the states. There are definitely variations in this process depending on your state laws but the basic framework is the same.
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