Going through a divorce is never an easy time in someone’s life. The fact that there can be a great deal of emotion involved can increase each party’s anxiety and even lead to confusion as each step is taken. It is ideal to have an attorney to help you to navigate through each step but knowing what you can expect in advance can help to relieve a great deal of the stress that is likely to be involved.
The first step in the process is to serve the other party with a divorce petition. The petition consists of any and all information that is relevant to the divorce. The most common information to include is each spouse’s identifying information, the property owned by each party as well as what is shared and whether or not there are children involved.
These documents then need to be officially served to the other spouse. If the other spouse is agreeing to the divorce they will simply need to sign a form acknowledging that they have received the petition. This is important as it is proof that they have been served and are aware that the divorce process has begun. If the other party is not being agreeable or is difficult to locate it will be necessary to hire a service to officially serve the documents. They are known as process servers and are licensed in each county to perform their services.
The next step, which is not required, is where the responding party, or the person that was served with the divorce petition, files a response. The divorce petition response can simply be a statement of agreement with the divorce. If this is the case both parties can save a great deal of money on the entire divorce process. The responding party also has the opportunity to refute statements that were made in the original divorce petition. If this is the case it is more than likely that there will be a need to take the proceedings to court where a judge will work to determine the final outcome of the divorce.
If both parties find that they cannot come to an agreement on their own, there is an opportunity for them to seek mediation. In this process there will be an individual that will help to guide the two parties to a resolution that they both find to be satisfactory. Using this resource can save a great deal of time and money and usually results in the best resolution for everyone involved. If a resolution cannot be reached in a timely manner, then it will be necessary to bring the case to court.
If a resolution is met there will only need to be a little more paperwork filled out and submitted to the court. The court will then approve the divorce in accordance with the terms set in the documents. At this point the divorce will be official but depending on the state and municipality in which the divorce was approved, there may be a waiting period before either party has the ability to remarry.
If the case does need to go into the courtroom, then each party will need to disclose all of the assets that they have. This is where a great deal of conflict can come into play when it comes to the divorce. It is not unusual for one or both parties to inaccurately state their financial situation in order to avoid paying the other party or in an attempt to receive higher alimony or child support payments than what they deserve.
In order to ensure that you are treated fairly at this state it is critical that you supply documentation that shows all of the assets that you are aware of. If you plan to file a divorce petition it is best to gather copies of this documentation before the other party is aware of the fact that you plan to file. You will want to include bank statements that are dated so that there is no discrepancy about the amount of assets that were held just prior to the filing.
Being sure that you document these things before you begin the divorce process is critical. It is not uncommon for a spouse to empty bank accounts or attempt to hide assets in another fashion once they become aware that the divorce is occurring. Even if you believe that the other party will be agreeable it is still in your best interest to cover your bases in case their position changes as the divorce proceeds.
The last stage, if court intervention is needed, is to argue your case before a judge. At this stage it is imperative that you have quality legal representation. It may seem like an expense that you can forgo but doing so can actually cost you a great deal more in the long run. The experienced Dean Hines attorney will be able to get you the settlement that you deserve based on all of the factors involved. Going through this stage without a lawyer that has the right amount of knowledge about divorce can leave you in a very negative financial and personal position.
If there are children involved in the divorce that has to be brought to court it is even more imperative that legal counsel is sought. Ensuring that you have legal rights to your children is likely one of the most important aspects of a divorce. Be sure that you have the representation that you need to guarantee that you will be treated fairly before the judge when it comes to the custody agreement.
In short, if the divorce is amicable and both parties agree to it, then the process can be rather easy and quick. However, if there are disputes in regard to distribution of assets and child custody, then there will be a need to take the divorce process to court. It is ideal to avoid this stage as a judge is not likely going to come to a conclusion that is ideal for everyone involved.