What Are the Steps To Divorce Proceedings?

A divorce is a stressful time for anyone, but that stress is compounded if the process is confusing. While the divorce proceedings will vary based on the details of your situation (such as having or not having children), there are some important cornerstones to understand. Let’s first answer the question: what are the steps to divorce proceedings?

Filing for Divorce

The first step can occur regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce. One spouse must ask the court to terminate their marriage by filing a legal petition. This petition must include the legal grounds for divorce, a statement that tells the court that one or both spouses meet the state’s residency requirements for a divorce, and any additional statutory information required by your state.

Requesting Temporary Orders

While divorce comes with a long waiting period, courts understand that waiting is not always ideal. Upon filing for divorce, you are allowed to ask the court for temporary orders for spousal support, as well as child support and child custody.

Serving and Waiting

If you are the filing spouse, it is now your responsibility to give a copy of the divorce paperwork to your spouse and provide proof of service to the court. You may want to hire a professional to serve your spouse if you believe they might try to be evasive.

Your spouse will have a certain amount of time to file a reply to the paperwork, and failure to do so will likely lead to a default judgment against the unresponsive spouse.

Negotiating a Settlement

Often, spouses will disagree on certain points, such as child custody. In this case, the spouses must work together to negotiate a settlement. Courts may require mediation, during which a third party will encourage discussion and compromise.

Taking Your Divorce To Court

When the two parties cannot reach a settlement, the court takes all power away from you and hands it to a judge. Taking your divorce to trial is exhausting and costly, but knowing how to prepare can save you significant headaches.

Now that you know what the steps are to divorce proceedings, you’re better equipped to deal with everything that comes in the process. Talk to a divorce attorney, and you’ll get through this.

FAQ

What is the first step in a divorce?

The first step can occur regardless of whether both spouses agree to the divorce. One spouse must ask the court to terminate their marriage by filing a legal petition. This petition must include the legal grounds for divorce, a statement that tells the court that one or both spouses meet the state’s residency requirements for a divorce, and any additional statutory information required by your state.

Do I have to wait for divorce to be final before getting spousal and child support?

Upon filing for divorce, you are allowed to ask the court for temporary orders for spousal support, as well as child support and child custody.

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