What To Expect From The Divorce Process
Nov 08, 2019 01:52 PM EST
"Til Death Do Us Part"
That is how the marriage vows usually end, but in many cases, the marriage can end long before that. When a marriage dissolves and divorce is the only option, it can be a stressful, nerve-wracking time for both spouses. That is to be expected when two people who know each other intimately decide that a permanent separation is the best option for them.
Knowing how the divorce process will proceed can help to alleviate some of the stress since at least there will be fewer unknowns. If you live in Southern California and need help navigating the complex divorce process, then call Orange County divorce lawyer David Goldberg for all the help you need.
Filing The Divorce Petition
This is one of the earliest steps in the divorce proceedings regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce or not. Before the divorce can proceed, at least one of the spouses must file a petition to the court that requests the termination of their marriage. The petition must include the following information:
1. Grounds for the divorce
2. Proof that they meet the residency requirements of the state for a divorce
3. Whatever other information the state needs
Grounds for divorce vary from state to state, but all states provide the option of filing a no-fault divorce. That allows a spouse to file a divorce without citing a reason or placing the blame on the other spouse; it is an expedient process that can speed up the divorce proceedings.
Residency requirements also vary by state, but in general, each state will require that the person filing the divorce has lived in the state for at least a few months. They must also have lived in the county in which they are filing the petition for either a few days or a few months depending on the state.
Request For Temporary Orders
A divorce can be a lengthy process which can be inconvenient for one or both spouses, especially as they await rulings on issues like child or spousal support. This is why anyone going through a divorce can ask the court for a temporary ruling on child custody, child support, and spousal support. Once that request is made, the court will have a hearing where they will listen to each spouse and then decide on a ruling. That ruling will last until the court decides otherwise or the divorce is finalized. It is also possible for the court to file other temporary rulings like status quo payments or restraining orders if necessary.
Once the first two steps have been completed, it is time for one spouse to serve the other with divorce papers. This is done by sending a copy of the divorce petition to the spouse and then filing a proof of service with the court. A proof of service is a document that proves that the statutory requirements for giving a copy of the petition to the spouse have been met. If a spouse is reluctant to accept the divorce, then the other spouse can hire a professional to serve them in their stead.
Once the spouse has received the petition, they must then respond in a certain amount of time. If they are unresponsive, then they could receive a default judgment that is difficult to reverse. If the divorce is a fault divorce, then the respondent can dispute the grounds for divorce if they wish.
In this stage, both parties and their respective attorneys will work together to reach agreements about topics like division of property, child custody, child support, and other similar topics. In some cases, the court will schedule a settlement conference, and in others, they will schedule a mediation instead. In either case, the parties involved need to resolve their differences to find a solution to their issues.
This step is optional and will only occur if negotiations fall apart in the previous step. If that is the case, then a divorce trial will occur in which a judge, not the couple, is responsible for all of the decision making. Divorce trials are expensive, time-consuming, and take all the power away from either spouse, which is why they should be avoided if at all possible.
The Judgement of Divorce, aka The Order of Dissolution, officially ends the marriage and details the various rulings that have taken place during the settlement negotiation or trial. Those rulings include the final decision on issues like child custody, spousal support, and so on.
Contact An Attorney If a Divorce Seems Imminent
The various steps of a divorce can be complicated and emotional, which is why you should hire an attorney to help you get through it. They will guide you through each stage to make sure that the outcome is as favorable to you as possible. A divorce can be difficult, so hire an attorney to help you share the burden.