Knowing What's Ahead In Your Divorce Case

Posted on: 22 March 2017

If you and your spouse are about to join the ranks of divorced couples, you may not be focused on the process but more on the emotional side of divorce. Don't allow fear of the unknown to add to your stress level; divorce is mostly a step by step process. You should know that even with an uncontested divorce, however, the steps are not really all that quick or easy. To get more information about what you will be facing in the coming months, read on.

Step 1: The separation is not just a personal move, it is also a legal move with serious ramifications. Take your separation a step further and create a legal separation agreement to solidify your provisions for dealing with a number of important issues during the transition period leading up to the final decree. If you include provisions for child support, custody, visitation, spousal support, financial arrangements and more in your agreement, it can be used to form your final decree.

Step 2: The divorce petition (also known as the letter of complaint, original petition, etc) is the first formal document produced that sets out your intention to be divorced. When you hear of someone being "served with divorce papers", this is likely what was served. If you live in a state that does not recognize no-fault divorce, the reason for the divorce will be stated on this petition.

Step 3: Various temporary orders usually follow the initial petition, and they cover issues pertaining to child support and more. These orders usually expire upon the date of the final decree.

Step 4: The discovery process allows both sides (the attorneys for you and your spouse) to share information and important documents related to your divorce, such as:

  • Financial disclosures, tax returns and other documents.
  • Questionnaires (also called interrogatories) for each party to complete.
  • A list of admissions or facts, which can be either be admitted to or denied by each party.
  • The deposition, a meeting of all parties where they are questioned under oath.

Step 5: In some cases, a mediator is brought in to help the couple resolve issues before the case comes before a judge.

Step 6: If the parties have been successful and have worked out their problems, court will consist of a brief appearance by one party and a quick ruling. If not, both parties will take turns pleading their sides on undecided issues, after which a judge will render a verdict.

Step 7: Once the judge decides, both parties must sign off on the final decree. Anything pertaining to minor children is considered separate from the decree and is open to alterations or changes. Other issues are more difficult to change, so be sure of what you are signing.

If you have any questions, make sure to talk to your lawyer, someone from a place like the Bergermann Law Firm