What to Expect From the Divorce Process
Divorce is a very common ending to marriages. The newer generations are causing the divorce rate to drop by as much as 18%, and this could be because of their decisions to wait longer before getting married. However, despite this recent trend, divorces are still very common. If you are thinking about filing for divorce or have begun the process, here are some things to expect.
The divorce process will vary based on a few circumstances. If you are a newly married couple with no kids and very little property, the process is not very involved. However, in cases where the couple has been married a very long time, have kids under 18, and own substantial amounts of property, that will be more involved.
Serving a Petition
The divorce petition is the piece of paper that states you are filing for divorce and is generally served to the other spouse. In some cases, the couple is both aware of the desire for a divorce, but in other cases, there might be a blindsided serving of the petition. The paperwork needs to be signed by both parties, then is filed in a State Court in a county that one of the spouses live in. This process does not have to take a long time; however, if one of the spouses refuses to sign the paper, it will prolong the process. This is often seen in cases where one spouse was not expecting to be served divorce papers.
Temporary Orders and Response
If one of the spouses is financially dependent on the other, or has custody, the spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. The person who files the divorce will also need to file proof of service of process. This is documentation that proves a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party. The party that receives the service of process will then need to submit a response. This process can be delayed if the other party chooses to dispute the grounds, then this needs to be clearly written in the response.
Negotiation and Trial
Negotiations will occur if the parties don’t agree on the terms. Depending on what the couple is not able to agree on, there might be a mediation or settlement conference. Sometimes, this is not enough for some and the next step is to go to trial. Unfortunately, this will cost a lot of money and can extend the divorce process. Another negative to taking it to trial is the outcome is now less predictable.
Divorces can be messy, but they don’t necessarily have to be. There can be circumstances that create tension and resentment that make negotiations take longer, which then delays the finalization of divorce. If you are in the process of serving divorce papers or have any more questions, feel free to give us a call and we can help you.