Unless you used a crystal ball to foresee the future, you might never imagine how long and complicated the divorce process can be. For some, a fairly quick and simple procedure could be in store if your divorce doesn't involve children, property or is uncontested. For most, however, divorce is a process that usually takes several months to accomplish. It may help to understand whats happening by taking a look ahead. Read on for what to expect with your divorce.
Make your separation legal: While not every state requires couples to file a legal separation agreement when they part ways, it is advisable to do so. This agreement sets out rules and sparks orders from the judge on dealing with everything from minor children to spousal support and debt. When you consider how long it could be before your divorce is final, you may be interested in getting some of these important issues addressed beforehand, and then folding them into your final decree.
You (or your spouse) gets served: Once you have visited your attorney and the petition is ready, you will serve your spouse with the document. If your spouse is the one doing the filing, you will be served. Either way, make sure you have your own legal representation. This document (also known as the original petition or letter of complaint) details the parties involved, and in some cases gives a reason for the divorce.
Each Side Makes Discoveries: Just like other types of court cases, there is a pretrial discovery process where each side provides and requests information from the other side. Some common divorce discovery requests include:
Interrogatories, where one party asks the other party questions.
Financial disclosure, where one party requests certain documents, such as bank statements.
A list of facts that require either denials or admissions.
The deposition, a meeting where the parties answer questions under oath.
Mediation: It can cost less to resolve issues outside of court before the trial begins. Special divorce mediators are brought to help the couples negotiate their way out of the marriage.
Court: As with most cases, each side will have their turn to plead their case about unresolved issues. The judge will then rule on any issues and issue the final judgment.
Final decree: The final papers signal the official end of the divorce process. Some issues, particularly those that involve minor children, can always be taken back to court if need be.
Contact a law office like Grafton Law Office for more information and assistance.