Divorce can be a messy and emotional rollercoaster. It is important that individuals familiarize themselves with divorce proceedings so they are well aware of the legal battle that it usually brings, and this is one of the reasons why you need a good lawyer to guide you along the way and explain the steps in the process. For individuals seeking divorce, we’ve simplified the process of divorce with an outline that is easy to follow.
Step 1. FILING: This is the very first step in a divorce process. The original petition is filed with the District Clerk of the County where you or your spouse reside currently. This petition should contain all information about the divorce; the grounds for divorce, the properties in the marriage especially those owned by the both of you (joint ownership), the children born in this marriage, amongst other requests that the party filing for divorce wishes to make known.
Step 2. SERVICE: This is the delivery of the filed petition to the spouse. One might decide to do this personally, have law enforcement agents do this for them, or have their spouse sign a Waiver of Service. If the situation is not amicable or almost violent, one can also seek a temporary restraining order and have both the T.R.O and divorce petition served to the other party. The style or mode of delivery is usually decided between the attorney and the spouse filing for divorce at the very first consultation.
Step 3. TEMPORARY ORDERS HEARING: This is the first hearing, and in some circumstances, there is a need for the court to enter orders that will be binding on the parties temporarily while the divorce is pending. Sometimes they stay the same way until after the divorce. The most common situations for this is when children, shared properties, and marital estate are involved. The temporary custody of the children, child support, visitation, bills, living arrangements are usually determined as soon as possible. Most times these orders are temporary until superseded by other orders of the court. They can also be used to keep a violent partner away, limit their harmful behaviors and even cut down on debt. The court decides who keeps the children, pays the major bills and who gets to be the visiting parent.
Step 4. DISCOVERY: This is the step or process in which the party filing for divorce gathers information that is relevant or important concerning the other party in the divorce. This is usually information about income, liabilities, assets, the children if any and child support. The information is attained through interrogatories, inspection of bills and receipts, inspection of documents and depositions amongst other things. This information is essential, especially when parties do not have a prenuptial agreement which discloses all the assets, addresses alimony and/or child support.
Step 5. MEDIATION: After both parties involved and their attorneys have been through with the discovery process, it is mandatory that they begin mediation. This way both parties have absolute control over the outcome of the divorce. Mediation is when a third party comes in and tries to facilitate a feasible settlement that will satisfy both parties. The mediator is usually informed on all issues concerning the case. Mediation helps parties to avoid the unknown outcomes that are inevitable whenever the court rules the case.
Step 6. TRIAL AND CLOSING: If both parties, their attorneys, and their mediator cannot reach a decision that satisfies both spouses, there will have to be a Trial. A judge or a jury will ultimately decide the case, and neither party can change the outcome of the court’s decision.
After trial is complete and a judgement is attained, a Final Decree Of Divorce must be prepared and filed with the court. Other documents, such as deeds to properties that are to be shared or owned by one party, transfer or mortgage documents, or transfer of stock options transferring ownership from one spouse to another will also need to be prepared. This is (hopefully) the last step and the end to a divorce process.
The key to a seamless divorce is a good lawyer. With the help of the right attorney, a person can go through divorce with peace of mind. It is essential to do research during a divorce to pick an attorney that a person is comfortable with. A good lawyer will get you the best of any settlement, and if you want an experienced and dedicated attorney Call Us at 832-930-1529 to schedule a divorce consultation. We promise you will have one of the best legal minds on your case.