The following are typical questions asked of my office. Click on any of the questions below for a detailed answer.
The largest factor that determines how the process will work is dependent upon whether the divorce is contested or not. A contested divorce is one which may involve many factors such as one or more of the following: the parties cannot agree on how to divide the assets, value of marital property, one or both parties are hiding assets and/or child custody, support and/or parenting time. If you and your spouse agree to the divorce and have worked out these issues, the process will be much faster and with a significant reduction in legal fees.
1) The Complaint & Answer
The first step is for one of the parties to file the complaint in the court which has proper jurisdiction. It is highly recommended that this party have an attorney to do this for them. Once the complaint is filed then the other party must be served with a copy of the complaint.
2) Interim Orders
After the party answers the complaint or if a default is filed then the whole divorce process begins. In many divorces, there are some issues that need to be immediately addressed.(Temporary orders). Some of the most common urgent issues are as follows: temporary custody, support, parenting time, where and with whom the parties and/or minor children will reside, who will keep and maintain what property while the divorce is pending.
During the initial stages of the divorce, the process of discovery may begin. If the parties know the value of the assets and debts then the discovery process is unnecessary. If the values and amounts are unknown by one or both parties then discovery is a necessity. Discovery is where the attorneys work to learn or “discover” all of the assets and debts of the parties.
4) Process moving toward judgment of divorce
Divorce can be an expensive process for you and your spouse. In order to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a Divorce trial, many parties will attempt to negotiate an agreement on the issues in their case. If the parties are able to successfully negotiate the issues in their Divorce case, the attorneys will prepare a proposed Judgment of Divorce. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the resolution will be left up to the court to decide.