While divorce can be an emotionally draining experience, even in the best of situations, it can also be a complicated legal matter that affects both parties equally. No matter how long your marriage has lasted or how few belongings you share together, it is also best to involve an attorney in your divorce proceedings. With out legal representation your rights could go unprotected and you could end up in financial trouble or even lose custody of your children or possessions.
Once you have contacted an attorney for legal representation, he or she will walk you through the most common steps of a divorce. Depending on the circumstances revolving around your divorce, this process can either be very simple and straight forward, or very complicated and time consuming.
The simplest divorces involve parties that have not been together very long, that do not have any children and that have very few, if any, shared items to divide. More complicated divorces come about from parties with a lot of mutually owned property, young children, and non-agreement on the proceedings. Non-agreement can include such things as differing opinions on how to split up property to bigger concerns such one party not wanting to agree to the divorce.
The first step in any divorce is filing a petition to announce your intentions of divorce. Even if both parties want a divorce, only one party will file this petition. In the petition, you lawyer will list your reason for seeking divorce. He or she will also advise you on which reason is more acceptable for your situation.
After a petition has been filed, your lawyer may suggest that you file a temporary order. A temporary order is usually filed for concerns about custody and child support where one party will need financial support or the guarantee of custody until final judgment is made. These orders are awarded within days of filing and stay in effect until the court hearing in your case.
Once a person has filed a petition for divorce or any temporary orders, these petitions are served to the other party. Through this service, the other party is notified of all petitions against him or her and is given the chance to respond to the petitions. In mutually agreed upon divorces, the response is as simple as a comment acknowledging the petition. In cases of disagreement, the response may contain disputes covering anything from the grounds of the divorce to disagreements on the division of property, child custody or support.
If there is no disagreement once a petition has been filed, then both parties will proceed without a trial to the dissolution of their marriage. However, if there are disagreements, further steps will need to be taken to sort them out.
Depending on the type of disagreement, the court has many venues to use to help the parties reach agreement. In the case of custody battles, the court may order both parties to attend a mediation session where a third party can help them settle their difference. In some cases, the court might also order an evaluation with a social worker to ensure that any solution is in the best interest of the children.
If the disagreement concerns monetary or property division, the court may order a conference for both parties that is overseen by a lawyer or a court employee. In this case the third party will work to help individual compromise while still holding onto their rights.
If the parties still cannot agree on the terms or provisions of the divorce, a trial will be necessary. In a divorce trial, both sides will explain and defend their positions and then a judge will decide on all matters of grounds, property division, child custody and support. Once the judge has made his ruling an order of dissolution is granted.
An order of dissolution legally ends the marriage and sets forth the legally binding terms for the end of the marriage. The terms include the judgments ordered on property division and child support.
Since each divorce comes with individual concerns and many migrating circumstances, it is very important that you choose a competent and experienced lawyer to represent you and your interests.