Breakdown of the Divorce ProcessBy: Darren Barnett
Getting a divorce can seem complicated if you donít understand the steps involved. In this article, I will try to explain divorce in a way that everyone will understand the processes involved and what you should to make it as pain-free as possible.
The first parts of a divorce differ for the petitioner (the one who files for the divorce) and the respondent (the spouse of the petitioner). I will state which party is involved at each process to clarify.
1) Writing up the Divorce Decree (Petitioner)
This is the first legal step involved in a divorce. The filing spouse will either need to find an attorney to help them write up a proposed decree (best but more money is needed), locate a paralegal service that will use a template and fill in your information (this option is cheaper but no real legal advice will be given), or write the papers up yourself (cheapest, but depending on the situation, this may or may not be the best route).
2) File the Divorce (Petitioner)
This process can be completed by the attorney or you. If you feel comfortable in going to the courthouse to file, this is an easy way to save a few bucks by not having to pay your lawyer to do it for you.
3) Have Respondent served (Petitioner)
Having the Respondent properly served by a sheriff or professional process server is an easy step in the divorce. This will be a step completed at the courthouse when filing the divorce papers. You might have the option of serving the papers to your spouse yourself, which will save a couple of dollars.
4) Find Legal Assistance (Respondent)
If you have been served with divorce papers, itís best to seek professional legal advice. You never know what those sneaky attorneys will put in those papers; you need one on your side to fight fire with fire. If you feel comfortable with the papers as is
5) Temporary Hearing (Both)
The Temporary Hearing is where a temporary agreement is made to set things up for the time being since the divorce is in a kind of limbo while it is being settled. The temporary hearing is where custody, alimony, temporary placement of marital belongings, debts, visitation, and child support are temporarily settled. If children are involved get as much time as possible for the spouse may be hesitant to change it later on stating their case with ďthe children seem to be doing fine the way it is now and it will mess them up to change the schedule.Ē
6) Mediation (Both)
Mediation will more than likely be required if a settlement is not likely. You need to have a list of ALL marital belongings. This is the process where everything may get settled and items split 50/50. Make sure you have a list of all marital belongings, so you will at least get the monetary credit for half of the cost. Sometimes it will be required to revisit mediation before a pre-trial will be granted. Be aware though, a successful mediation is where both parties leave with feelings of an unfair settlement.
7) Pre-Trial (Both)
Pre-Trial, this is where you have a list of witnesses and evidence proving your case for the things that you canít settle on and letting the judge determine if your case needs to go on to the trial process.
8) Trial (Both)
Ah finally, the big trial. This is where both of your cases gets presented, witnesses called and questioned, evidence taken into consideration, and the judge will decide your case.
9) Divorce Granted (Both)
Congratulations, your divorce has finally been granted, you may now put this crazy nightmare behind you and start looking towards the future.
In closing, I must add, like people, all divorces are different. Your divorce may not come to some of the steps listed because it will be over very quick and some cases will take years to finally be granted. Remember, in legal situations, knowledge is power, know what to expect and hopefully you will have a smooth divorce in this unstable chapter of life.
Darren Barnett is the co-founder for www.ureview.net; uReview is a large database of lawyer ratings and reviews.