Filing for a divorce can be a scary time as you head into unchartered waters of litigation, mediation, and possible custody battles. The more you know and understand the process before you begin the journey, the easier it will be to navigate.
Having a good attorney represent you is essential to getting what you want and getting through the divorce process as quickly as possible. Attorneys like Michael Ephraim Law Office can help speed you through an uncontested divorce, but you need to do your homework going in. You need to know what you want and what you are allowed to ask for. Navigating the divorce process can be easy if you already know what to expect.
The Divorce Petition
Most often if you are looking at the process for divorce you are already separated or understand that needs to be the first step. Once you are ready to proceed you will file a divorce petition to the court. This is a letter of intent that you are filing for divorce from your partner. This document will include your legal names, the names of any minors involved, that date of your wedding and the reason for the divorce.
Once you file the petition, it is then served to the other party. They have a specified amount of time, usually 30 days, to acknowledge the petition by signing and returning to the court. If they do not acknowledge it, the judge can rule completely in your favor and grant you whatever it is you are asking for.
The petition being signed and acknowledged moves you toward a temporary hearing. This is where the temporary court orders are put in place while the divorce progresses. Here you will discuss housing arrangements, temporary custody orders, child support, alimony or spousal support, and other important arrangements. This is also where the judge can make orders like no one can cancel the minor child’s health insurance during this time.
Hopefully, the divorce is amicable and can be decided without fighting, but that is unfortunately not always the case. These temporary orders protect everyone involved until final orders are given.
Once the temporary hearing is over, it is time for you to document your intent and your wishes during the divorce. If there is no property and there are no minor children, this part can be quick and easy. However, if there are assets and children involved, splitting of the property and time can be a nightmare. This is where your attorney really goes to bat for you, fighting for everything that you want.
Court can be completely avoided if both parties agree, but many times this starts in mediation and ends in a trial.
Mediation is the faster and most cost-effective way of settling a divorce. Together with your spouse and your attorneys, you select a neutral third-party person to discuss the terms of your divorce and what you are asking. Here they help you decide on fair terms and keep you out of court. Many times, there are anger and emotional conflict present in divorce cases. The angrier you are, the easier it is to want to fight and make things difficult for your ex-partner. But keeping things calmer and going the route of mediation is certainly going to lessen your time spent finalizing the divorce and ultimate lessen the amount of money you are spending on the divorce.
In mediation, you can come to agreements about splitting your property, child-sharing and co-parenting timeframes and rules such as custody agreement and visitation rights, and any financial terms you want to set up. If you can agree upon everything, the mediator will prepare the divorce documents for both parties and your attorneys to review, sign and ultimately present to the judge for finalization without you ever having to go to court.
Unfortunately, in some cases, mediation will not be effective, especially when one side is not in agreement with divorce or there are strong emotions involved. In these cases, the divorce will end in a series of hearings and trial where the judge will decide what they feel is best in the case of how things are to be divided, who will get custody, and if alimony, child support or spousal support will be awarded. In abuse cases and other hardship divorces, the judge can also choose to issue no-contact orders, or they can extend custody cases to a separate hearing after the marriage is dissolved.
Filing and finalizing a divorce can be no walk-in-the-park even on the best of terms. It is certainly a time where you want a good attorney you can rely on to help you with the very best outcome possible in the least amount of time. Knowing what is ahead of you is critical to making this process as easy as possible.