Every couple that files for divorce will have a different experience than the next couple. Situations are different, states do things differently and each half of the couple will have a different support system. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder what the process looks like.
Filing the Petition
The first thing one of the spouses needs to do is file a petition for divorce. In the petition, the spouse should include legal grounds for divorce, statutory information required by the state, and residency information for the spouse who lives in the state where the petition is filed. After these documents are written up, the spouse petitioning for divorce will file them with the court.
Obtaining Temporary Orders
Some divorces can take several months or even years to get through. If you are in a situation that won’t financially work for your family, you can request a hearing and ask for temporary orders. For example, if you have been a stay-at-home mom for the last ten years, and your husband has been the full-time breadwinner, you’ll need financial support until you can find a job and get on your feet. A judge may order the husband to pay temporary spousal support until the final settlement.
Serving Your Spouse
Your spouse will need a copy of the divorce petition so he or she can file a response. Sometimes the response will have a lot of changes in it, and other times it will be a simple signature agreeing to everything in the petition. You can hire a professional server to serve the papers, or your local sheriff might be able to do the job. Regardless of how it gets done, you’ll need to provide the court with proof of service.
Negotiating the Settlement
In many divorces, the couple is able to negotiate a settlement and avoid litigation. Through mediation, the couple can decide on child custody, child support, spousal support, splitting assets, splitting debts, and other important issues.
Going to Trial
If the couple is unable to negotiate, a divorce trial will typically take place. These can be costly and will require the assistance of a divorce attorney. Going to trial may also take more time than mediation, so many couples try to avoid it.
Receiving the Final Judgment
Regardless of the path you took to get to the final judgement, once it is signed, you are done with the divorce process. Your judgement of divorce will officially end your marriage, as well as outline all the specifics about custody, support, and division of debts and assets.
As you can see, divorce takes a lot of steps. If you are about to embark on this journey, contact a divorce lawyer, like a divorce lawyer in Rockville, MD, to help you through it.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into what the divorce process looks like.