Untying The Marital Knot, One Step At A Time
Divorce is a situation filled with many emotions, but one of them doesn't need to be confusion. Legal issues like divorce have somewhat of a flow and process, and you can educate yourself and be prepared for what comes next. Knowing what is about to happen may not bring full healing, but it might make you a lot less anxious about the unknown. Read on to learn how the marital knot is untied, one step at a time.
Separate and live independently: More and more couples are finding it difficult to actually physically separate when the marriage falls apart (given economic issues), but there are still ways to address a separation. Don't wait till it's too late to take action; talk to a divorce lawyer as soon as you are certain about the divorce. There are important financial issues to address, and that can be accomplished with a legal separation agreement. You can have spousal and child support ordered and create a dividing line for debt with this agreement.
Serve your spouse: In a manner of speaking, the person who files for divorce doesn't matter much. No fault laws mean that most divorce issues are decided on merit and equity rather than who did what to whom. If you file first, your spouse will receive a copy of the complaint (or petition) via a process server. These documents will contain the basic facts about each party, the children and a request for "relief," which means a divorce.
Orders during divorce: Numerous issues cannot wait for the divorce to be final and these are addressed in a series of hearings with resulting orders. These orders can be about support, property, information requests, visitation, and more.
Discovery, in some cases: Discovery is a facet of law that exists in nearly every legal action, though it's rarer with divorce. Only the most complex cases end up having to undergo discovery, which is a series of exchanges of information between the parties that helps each side prepare for court. In some cases, you might be expected to participate in a deposition.
Go to court: You should understand that having to go to court for a divorce is not inevitable. If you and your spouse can work out an agreement on your own, you will be saving untold hundreds of dollars and be divorced a lot sooner. If you do have to go to court, you might consider taking a step like mediation, which helps divorcing couples work at their issues one at a time with a neutral third party.
The final decree will be a packet of documents that officially makes you and your spouse unmarried. Any orders signed by the judge will become part of the decree. If you have questions about the above procedure speak to your family law attorney today.