The decision to divorce a spouse can be one of the hardest life events you will go through. It’s an emotional time and it can be difficult to maintain a level head. You are likely thinking about hiring a divorce lawyer to help you through the process. If you do, here are some of the steps they can help walk you through.
Separation Versus Divorce
Some couples choose to take a trial separation with hopes of reconciliation. This does not involve the court and you maintain the same rights as you did while living together. Certain states will allow legal separations. Couples may choose this option for healthcare coverage, tax purposes, or religious reasons. While it is similar to a divorce, you are still legally married to your spouse. Finally, divorce is the complete and legal dissolution of a marriage.
Filing for Divorce
The first step is completing the petition for the court and providing supporting documents. Required information can include personal records for each spouse and any children, the grounds for divorce, and requests relating to child custody and support, alimony, and division of assets. You will need to pay a filing fee or request that it be waived.
Serving the Petition
Once you have filed for divorce, you must deliver a copy of the petition to your spouse. This can be done in several ways, including hiring a private service, contacting your local sheriff’s department, or doing so yourself. It allows both parties adequate time to review the paperwork before the court makes a decision.
Response to Petition
Your spouse has a set time to respond to the petition. If they do not, the judge may award everything requested in the initial petition. Otherwise, they will submit a response agreeing or disagreeing with the allegations. They can also file a counter-complaint, presenting new information for the court to consider.
Settlement Versus Trial
If you and your spouse agree on the divorce terms, you can sign a settlement agreement. Mediation may be helpful at this stage. In the event you cannot come to an agreement, you will go to trial. After evidence and testimonies are presented, a judge will decide what is fair.
The divorce process can get contentious, so most people prefer legal counsel. Hiring a divorce lawyer, like one from the Law Office of Daniel Wright, can save you a lot of time, ensure you provide what the courts require, and help you get what you feel you deserve.