You might be wanting to split up with your spouse for a while, or it is your spouse who wants it. Regardless of the details, it is a difficult process. We won’t get into how you can fix things here. Some times the separation is inevitable. If the decision is sure, the legal way of doing it is divorce. But, you need to learn about it as good as possible. Down below, you can read about how the divorce process advances;
You may not get along well with your spouse or partner, your marriage may not be in perfect condition. If divorce seems to be the solution, you should consider multi-faceted thinking rather than quick thinking. Especially if you have children, consider trying again and again before considering divorce. With children in mind, divorce should be the last thing to think about.
But if divorce after all these discernments and reasonings is really the only solution, then you should do this correctly and with the least amount of harm. Sure thing that the divorce is not an easy thing to deal with. You need to know how it goes and how it can affect the sides, especially if there are children involved.
Divorce Process Step 1: Preparing The Divorce Petition
The legal process for a separation requires the married couple to file a petition for divorce. In order to this, one of the sides or their lawyer prepares a petition document for the divorce process which is usually referred to as “divorce papers”.
These papers define the terms of the divorce. They cover all the critical information about the couple and their marriage. Names of the spouses, names of the children, any property ownership, special needs for financial support such as child support requests, and other similar details should be written in these divorce papers.
Divorce Process Step 2: Serving The Divorce Papers
In order to be able to file the divorce petition, the spouse who prepared the papers have to serve them to the other spouse. Otherwise, they cannot file the petition. Legally this step is called “service of process”.
In an ideal case, both sides would be agreed on the divorce. So they just sign the paper for confirmation. Unfortunately, it is not always the case. One of the sides may disagree on the divorce terms or they might just refuse to accept the divorce. Sometimes finding the spouse who needs to be served can be difficult as well. In such cases, divorce lawyers can help to find the location of those individuals. There are even professional process servers you can hire who are really good at finding people and serve the legal paper to them.
Divorce Process Step 3: Waiting Period
After the divorce papers are served, a waiting time period starts. The length of time that the spouses need to wait can change depending on the state they are in.
During this waiting period of the divorce process, restraining orders are granted automatically. Spouses cannot take advantage of any investments they had together. They can’t sell the properties they own, This rule includes using these properties as collateral for a loan. They cannot sell each others’ insurances or take any money out it too. Also, any children involved in the marriage is forbidden to be moved out of the state until the waiting period is over.
Divorce Process Step 4: Filing Petition and Response
After “service of process” is completed the divorce petition can be filed. The filing of the petition is done in a state court. Some people think that the filing must be done in the state they got married, but this is incorrect. The state that this filing is done can be any state as long as one of the sides lives in it.
When the divorce petition is filed, the spouse who was served will be able to file a response to the divorce petition. This response is not necessary for the case to continue. If this response is used to show disagreement with the divorce terms, it doesn’t change much in the usual divorce process. But, by filing this response served spouses can also legally confirm that they accepted all the terms of the divorce petition for the court. Such a response can make the court decide that a court hearing is not needed for the divorce case. So, the divorce process can skip that step and be completed faster. If this happens it not only saves time for sides but it also reduces the costs. If the served spouse doesn’t file a response in a month or so, the spouse who filed the divorce petition can demand the court to use a default, and the divorce process continues as usual.
Divorce Process Step 5: The Divorce Court and Child Support
At the end of the divorce process, the state court inspects the divorce petition and the response thoroughly. All the information about the spouses’ incomes, property ownership, responsibilities, and needs are taken into consideration.
If there are children involved in the marriage, the divorce process always includes the child support matter together with the divorce. So, all that information the spouses disclosed is also used in this subject. According to both divorce terms in the petition and the decision taken by the judgment, the court gives the custody of children to one of the spouses or both sides as shared custody. The child support order gets determined in parallel with this decision. (We have more articles about the details on how these orders are determined. You can find them by checking the links in this page.)
When there are disagreements between spouses, the court can arrange court hearings to resolve the problems. Sometimes the divorce process can continue even longer with trials. But, if both sides are okay with the terms, with some paperwork divorce process can reach its end.
Divorce Process Step 6: The Final Order
When the court announces the final order, the divorce process is legally completed and the determined child support order gets initiated immediately. However, at this point, the marriage doesn’t actually end completely in the legal terms. As we mentioned earlier the waiting time period determined by the state’s laws may still be in effect. The sides won’t be able to remarry other people legally within this waiting time. Still, they will be separated in the eyes of the law. And when the waiting time ends only this that connects the individuals will be the child support order which will continue until the time which is determined by the state laws.