If you want to file a divorce, you should understand the stages of the process before you make your application. That way, you will understand what to expect at any given time. Below are some of the major stages of the process.
The first step is to file the divorce petition. This is where you confirm that you meet the legal requirements (such as the residency requirements) of the state. You may also include the grounds of the divorce if there is a need.
Once your application is officially received, you need to notify your partner about the divorce, which you do by serving them the divorce papers. You need to use your state's approved method of legal service and submit the acknowledgment of service to the court.
A divorce takes time; you may even be obligated to go through a waiting period or separation. However, the law also recognizes that there are issues that require immediate attention when one files for a divorce. These include things like temporary child support, temporary spousal support, and temporary child custody, among others. You will have a preliminary hearing to handle these issues.
The next step is for the spouse that was served to reply to the issues raised in the divorce. This spouse may also raise their own issues, known as the counterclaims, which the court will also be obligated to consider.
The discovery process allows each side to get relevant information from the other party. This takes place via the exchange of information and documents. That way, you get to know how much your spouse earns and their asset ownership, among other things.
The negotiation stage allows you to settle your divorce issues without relying on the court's judgment. Ideally, you can settle everything with each other so that the judge only rubber stamps your divorce agreement. You can decide how to divide your assets, settle the custody issue, and determine the spousal alimony.
Divorce negotiations do not always end in resolutions. In some cases, divorcing couples agree on some issues but fail to reach an agreement on other issues. If that happens, the divorce will proceed to trial where each side argues their positions and the judge makes a decision. The divorce ends when you reach an agreement and the court accepts it or when the judge issues a judgment.
You won't have to worry about any of the above processes if you have family law attorney services. The lawyer will keep you appraised of your case every step of the way.