Going through a divorce is never easy. You have to do things like talk to your kids, find a new place to live, and discuss splitting up any assets. On top of all of that, you have the emotional stress that comes with a divorce.
One area of a divorce that people really struggle with is the legal steps that they need to take. You know you need to find yourself a new apartment, but how do you actually go about getting divorced? To shed some light on this, here are the 6 steps you may have to go through when you want to get a divorce.
File a Petition
The first thing you need to do is file a petition for divorce. Even if the divorce is amicable or agreed on by both sides, one person has to file the petition to the courts. This petition is essentially asking the courts for a divorce and stating the reasons for the divorce. The grounds for divorce will vary based on where you live.
For example, there are 7 statutory grounds for divorce in Texas. You will need to check with your local jurisdiction and see which grounds are permissible, and how they will impact the divorce proceedings. However, all jurisdictions allow for some type of no-fault grounds, if you are interested in going this route.
Get Temporary Orders
Next comes temporary orders. Temporary orders are used when one party depends on the other for financial support or if they are going to have custody of the kids. As an example, if a stay at home mom were to file for divorce, she may ask for temporary orders that allow her to keep custody of the kids, in addition to financial support from her spouse.
If you are the one filing the petition for divorce, you should file the temporary order at the same time. If your spouse is the one submitting the divorce petition, you’ll want to file the temporary order as soon as you can. Temporary orders are usually granted within a couple of days and they last until the court date.
Service of Process and the Response
After the temporary orders comes the service of process. Essentially this is a document that says the other party was notified of the divorce. The service of process can sometimes be a messy situation, but if your divorce is amicable, hopefully you can just have it delivered to your spouse’s attorney. Try to avoid things like having this paper delivered at your spouse’s place of business, as this can make a tough situation more uncomfortable.
Once the service of process has been received, that party will need to file a response. This document will allow the recipient to dispute the grounds for divorce, if they so choose. For example, they may disagree with the facts that were presented, or wish to argue a defense. This document also allows the recipient to dispute any differences as to things like child support or property division.
Negotiation or Mediation
If there is any disagreement between the two parties, the next step is to go through a negotiation. Here you will decide things like how much one spouse owes in child support, how the property gets divided up, and visitation rights. In some cases, the court may order an evaluation by a social worker of the children and the parents. The goal is to work out everything during this phase, so that you don’t need to go to trial.
Going to Trial
If you absolutely can’t work things out during the negotiation, you’ll need to go to trial. Going to trial is more expensive and takes longer, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Avoid this if you can, but if you can’t, make sure you have a good lawyer on your side.
The Order of Dissolution
Finally, the last step is the order of dissolution. This ends the marriage and defines how the property is split, the debts are divided, child support, and everything else involved. Once both parties agree and sign it, the court approves it, and your divorce is finalized. If you weren’t able to reach an agreement, the order of dissolution comes at the end of the trial.
As you can see, going through a divorce is a long and complicated process. But sometimes you don’t have any other choice but to go through it. By knowing the steps involved you can better prepare yourself, and hopefully make the divorce process a little smoother.
Article Submitted By Community Writer