What Happens in a Divorce?

Once you have decided that your marriage is no longer worth saving, you will probably choose to get a divorce. There are a number of factors that come into play that determine what exactly occurs during the divorce process. If the couple has been married for a very short time and has no children, it is typically an easier and shorter process, especially if there is little property or debts between them. A divorce in which both parties agree that they want to dissolve the marriage is also an easy process. In some cases, there may be a good deal of debate, with the couple disagreeing over everything, which makes the divorce process much slower. Here is what to expect when you are going through a divorce.

File a Petition

First, a petition will have to be filed as the very first step in a divorce. This is necessary even when both parties decide they want to end the marriage. One spouse must file a petition with the court to request the divorce. This states the grounds for the divorce, which vary depending on the jurisdiction. There are no fault grounds that exist, such as irreconcilable differences, and fault grounds like abandonment or adultery. It’s important to hire a skilled Gig Harbob divorce attorney to help you to understand the laws so that you know what grounds to state in the divorce petition.

Temporary Orders

In some cases, one spouse may depend on the other for financial support. If one party has custody of the children or will have custody, they must ask for a temporary order for support and custody from the court. A good example is a stay at home mother who takes care of the house during the day. If she wants custody of the kids, she would have to also get a temporary child support order, which is typically granted within days. This temporary order remains in place until a full court hearing. If the spouse who filed the petition for the divorce, it’s important that they file requests for temporary orders at the same time. The party that didn’t file the petition should file for temporary orders as soon as possible afterward.

Service of Process

The individual who files the petition must also file proof of service of process, a document that proves a copy of the petition was given to the other spouse. Service of process is generally either dignified or undignified. In general, a process server may visit one party’s workplace to serve the papers if the process is undignified.

Response

The person who gets service of process must file a response. For a divorce filed on fault grounds, the individual may want to dispute the grounds, meaning they must address them in the response. That party can dispute the facts or state a defense to those grounds. If the individual disagrees about support, custody or division of property, it should be mentioned in the response.

Negotiation

When the parties disagree on issues, it’s important to negotiate them. The court can schedule settlement conferences to ensure that a resolution is met. If there is further disagreement, the court can order an evaluation of the children and parents by a social worker, lawyer or other person to represent the children. Property division and spousal support are other issues that require negotiation.

Trial

Anything that cannot be resolved by the spouses is determined at trial. A trial costs more money and generally takes more time. It can also have unpredictable outcomes, so it’s best to avoid going to trial.

Order of Dissolution

An order of dissolution ends the marriage. It also explains how property and debts are divided, support, custody and any other issues. If the parties negotiate to come to a resolution, they must draft this order and submit it to court. If it meets legal requirements, the judge will generally approve it. If the judge doesn’t approve, the court issues an order by the end of a trial.

If you are planning to divorce, contact an attorney at your earliest convenience. It will help the process to be that much smoother.

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