How The Divorce Process Works

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The divorce process varies from state to state, depending on the couple’s situation. It is less complex and demands little time for short-term marriages. A divorce with significant marital debt, property entanglements, and minor children is time-consuming.

Here is a step by step look at the process of divorce.

File The Divorce Petition

Filing the divorce petition is the first step in the divorce process. Regardless of whether or not the warring spouses agree to the divorce, the petitioner is required to file a legal petition requesting the court to terminate the union. The petition must include.

  • State requirements require one spouse to have lived in the state where the petition is filed for three to 12 months. Requirements for the county where the petition is filed are usually ten days to six months. The court will accept the case only when the spouses meet the residency requirements set by the state.
  • Any other statutory information.

Collect The Necessary Information

Spouses are required to collect relevant information for the financial advisor and lawyer. Obtain information regarding the date of marriage, the region where the wedding occurred, the wife’s maiden name, and prior marriage information for either spouse. Obtain complete addresses, names, phone numbers, and social insurance numbers for the other spouse and children. Secure a copy of the premarital agreement and additional domestic contract information before legal proceedings, marital counseling, or separations during the marriage.

Financial data, including five-year income tax returns, major assets and liabilities, budget worksheets, credit card statements, and mortgage applications, are included. Unless one spouse creates a separation agreement, the divorce attorney uses this as the starting point for the overall process; to work out the financial issues fairly, provide the divorce attorney in Katy with specific information regarding the marriage. Retrieve documentation of all items bought during the marriage, pensions, stocks, and revenue from a business.

Request Temporary Court Orders

Courts have an understanding that the option of waiting for months to finalize the divorce does not apply to every situation. For instance, if one of the spouses is a stay-at-home parent and is financially dependent on the other spouse, the court may give temporary orders for children and spousal support when the divorce is filed. If a temporary order is requested, the law requires the court to gather information and hold a hearing for warring spouses. The judge will quickly grant an interim order which remains effective until the divorce is finalized or the court orders otherwise.

Negotiate A Settlement

Unless the warring spouses agree on matters of property division and custody support, a negotiated settlement has to be reached. The court schedules a conference with each spouse’s attorney to discuss the case. The court may sometimes arrange mediation with a neutral third party to resolve any remaining issues. Some states mandate the process of mediation as it saves money, time, and stress during the overall divorce process.

Go To Trial, If Necessary

If negotiations fail, the court must step in to facilitate a divorce trial. A trial is held before a jury in some cases or a judge. Both sides must present evidence and obtain witnesses to support the claims regarding financial support, child custody, property division, and related divorce matters. The court will consider all testimony and evidence to render a final, binding decision. Spouses are advised to seek alternative options to resolve disputes, such as collaborative divorce, mediation, or private arbitration.

Finalize The Judgement

The final step in a divorce process is when a judge signs the divorce judgment. An order of dissolution assists in ending the marriage and specifies details regarding parenting time and custodial responsibility, division of assets and debts, child, and spousal support. Once the warring spouses negotiate a settlement, the filing spouse’s lawyer will draft the judgment; however, a judge’s final order is issued if the divorce goes through trial.

In most cases, hiring a mediator saves time and money. Always seek a lawyer if the other spouse hires one or has a history of child abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence, or sexual abuse.

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