While sad, it is common knowledge that nearly 50% of marriages end in divorce. Unfortunately, despite that grueling statistic, divorce proceedings can be fairly complex and hard to understand. If you wish to file for divorce, there is a potentially six-step process you will need to follow in most states.
1. The Divorce Petition
The divorce petition is the one piece of paperwork that gets the entire process moving. The petition will include the grounds for the divorce request. You will want to give a precise reason for your desire to leave the marriage. Many people claim irreconcilable differences. You will also state what you expect from the divorce, like your portion of marital assets, spousal support, or custody of children.
2. Temporary Orders
The court may be inclined to grant temporary orders in specific circumstances. For example, if you are a stay-at-home mother, then the court may permit or grant temporary orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support. However, the allowance of such orders depends on the situation and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
3. Service of paperwork and Response
Once you file your petition for divorce, you must notify your spouse of your desire to divorce. You will send them a copy of the claim for them to sign and return. When your spouse receives the divorce petition, they will review it and often form a response, indicating what they expect from the proceedings and whether they agree with your stipulations.
Once both parties understand what either side is after, they will begin divorce negotiations. During these discussions, your attorney will argue for your desires. The hope is that talks proceed amicably and that a decision can be made on the distribution of assets and child custody arrangements.
5. Potential Trial
Unfortunately, not every divorce will proceed amicably. There are occasions when neither party will budge for their wants in the divorce. If a divorce is contentious, then it will probably move to trial, where a judge will be the final deciding factor on the division of property.
Whether negotiations are successful or the divorce goes to trial, it all ends with the last judgment. The judge will review claims from both sides and determine if the agreed-upon settlement is fair or determine the distribution of property. The judge is the last step in the process.
A divorce is hard on everyone involved, and the process can be complicated. If you are filing for divorce, then consider hiring a lawyer, like a family lawyer in Fairfax, VA from May Law, LLP, to help you through.