Divorce is stressful and sad no matter what the circumstances are. After all, you’re dealing with a quite difficult legal process as well as encountering many emotional and financial difficulties along the way.
Most people don’t know what to do when divorce proceedings are on the horizon. They’re unsure of how to move forward, or how to make the process easier for themselves and their children. Because of this, many people don’t know where to start when it comes time to file for divorce.
They might be asking themselves a plethora of questions, such as: how long does it take to get divorced? How much does a divorce cost? Do I have to sell the house? Can I dispose of my exs things without any legal consequences?
And although no two divorces are the same, the majority of them follow a similar pattern. This post will take you through some simple steps that make the whole process less intimidating and easier to understand.
Start by filing a divorce petition
The first stage in the divorce process is to file a divorce petition. Regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce, one of them—the petitioner—must submit a legal petition to the court to end the marriage. The following points must be included in the petition:
- A declaration that at least one spouse meets the residency requirements for divorce in the state. In general, states need at least one spouse to reside in the state for three to twelve months, as well as in the county where the petition is filed for ten days to six months. The case will not be accepted until both spouses have met the state’s residency criteria.
- A legal basis for divorcing someone. These differ depending on whether you file an at-fault or no-fault divorce in your state. Some examples of at-fault grounds are physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, infertility, substance abuse, etc.
- Any further information that the state requires under the law.
Submit temporary court orders
Courts recognise that waiting months for a judge to finalise a divorce isn’t always possible, such as if you’re a stay-at-home parent raising children and financially reliant on your husband. When you file for divorce, you can ask the court for temporary orders involving child custody, spousal, and child support.
When you obtain a temporary order, the court holds a hearing, collects information from both spouses, and then makes a decision. The judge will usually approve the temporary order promptly, and it will remain in effect until the court orders otherwise or the divorce is finalized.
File a proof of service
When you file for divorce and request temporary orders, you must provide your spouse a copy of the documents and file a proof of service document with the court. This document certifies to the court that you followed all of the legal criteria for serving your spouse with a copy of the divorce petition. If you don’t properly serve your spouse and present proof of service, the judge will not advance with your divorce case.
Come to an agreement
You’ll have to work out an agreement unless you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on issues like support, custody, and property division. The court may arrange for a settlement conference with you, your spouse, and your attorney to discuss the case. The court may also arrange mediation with a neutral third party that can assist in resolving any outstanding concerns. Although mediation is not necessary for many jurisdictions, it can be a useful approach to save time, money, and stress during the divorce process.
If necessary, go to trial
If negotiations fail, the court will have to intervene, which would result in a divorce trial. A trial is usually held in front of a judge, although in some situations it may be held in front of a jury. Both sides submit evidence and call witnesses to support their arguments about child custody, financial support, property distribution, and other divorce-related issues in any case.
Bring the case to a conclusion
The judge signs the divorce decision at the end of the divorce procedure, whether it’s an amicable divorce or one that requires a trial. This document, also known as a dissolution order, ends the marriage and outlines the terms of custody and parenting time, spousal and child support, and asset and debt division. If you and your soon-to-be-ex reached an agreement, the judgment is usually written by the filing spouse’s attorney. If the divorce goes to trial, the judge will issue the final order.
Filing for divorce can be both stressful and time-consuming, and you might feel overwhelmed. The above-mentioned steps are the best way to handle the situation if you want everything to go smoothly. These steps will ensure that you don’t end up causing more trouble than necessary due to the uncertainty of what actions to take next.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.