Divorce is a process that can be both emotionally and mentally draining, not to mention the legal complexities involved. If you are considering divorce or are in the midst of one, it is important to understand the four main parts of the process. Having a lawyer on your side can make all the difference in ensuring that your rights are protected and that you obtain a fair outcome.
1. Filing for Divorce
The first step in getting divorced is to file a petition with the court. This document will state your grounds for divorce, as well as any other information relevant to your case. Once you have filed your petition, you will need to serve it on your spouse. They will then have 30 days to respond.
2. Temporary Orders
Once you have filed for divorce, you may want to file for temporary orders. These orders can address things like child custody, child support, spousal support, and the use of the marital property. They are designed to provide stability during the divorce process and are typically in effect until the final divorce decree is issued. An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine what temporary orders are right for your situation.
The discovery process is when each spouse gathers information about the other spouse’s assets, debts, income, and expenses. This can be done through financial disclosure forms or by requesting documents from banks, employers, and other institutions. The goal of discovery is to ensure that all assets and liabilities are properly accounted for in the divorce settlement. A lawyer can help you gather the information you need and protect your rights during this process.
4. Settlement or Trial
Once discovery is complete, the next step is to reach a settlement. This can be done through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration. If you are unable to reach a settlement, then your case will go to trial. A judge will hear evidence and testimony from both sides and then make a decision on all outstanding issues. Once all the relevant information has been gathered and the terms of the divorce have been negotiated, a final divorce decree will be issued. This document will outline the terms of the divorce, including things like child custody, support, and property division. Once the decree is issued, the divorce is official, and both parties are legally bound by its terms.
Going through a divorce can be a difficult process, but it is necessary to understand the four main parts of the process. If you need help with family law, contact us today at (470) 291-5342 to schedule a consultation with our law firm.