There’s a lot of knowledge that you need to get your hands upon before initiating the process. In the US, every state has its own set of laws, not just for the divorce, but for just about everything. And so, there’ll be a need to comply to the laws of your state, so it’s better to get in the know of it beforehand. The divorce process here starts with a divorce petition and the grounds on which you wish to start the process of separation.
Then there are the different kinds of divorce – at-fault, no-fault, uncontested, mediated, collaborative and summary. Each of this has its own pros and cons, and so do a little bit of research on which one would be better for you, corresponding to the state laws you have to abide by. Then would arise the need for important papers namely, documents from joint ventures, tax returns, any deeds, wills, etc.
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step procedure.
Filing The Petition
As already outlined that you can file for divorce in your respective state only, it would require the completion and then filing of the apt papers with the district court. Hiring an attorney can help you speed up the process, as the person with all the know-hows.
Part of the petition will include the grounds on which you’re seeking the separation and listing of items to be an issue such as cars, residence and other shared possessions.
After you’re done with the petition filing, your spouse will be notified, or in technical terms, served, of which you need to submit the proof in the court. One of the options that your spouse will have is to simply sign the “Voluntary appearance” document, meaning he/ she simply agrees to everything stated and does not wish to respond.
Other option is to “file an answer” or formally respond, within a specific period of time. In the case of no answer, the judge might accept all of what you’ve stated.
The Case With Temporary Hearing
A trial can be as long as a year away, and due to this “temporary hearings” (motion) are arranged. The most common requests that can be put forward for temporary relief are,
- Request for temporary custody of children and/ or support
- Request for a ruling so that the joint investment/ brokerage account is accessed by neither party
- Request for a ruling so that the health insurance doesn’t get cancelled
- Request for alimony or spousal support
Arguably, the most difficult part of a divorce is getting an agreement on issues like debts, property division, child custody and spousal support. All these things have to be written down in the agreement. Pretty obviously, if it can be done outside the court – better for everyone. The agreement will contain the rules and the conditions both the parties have agreed to. It serves two primary purposes,
It will address the issues only for the time in between the initial separation and the final time of divorce, done at the aforementioned temporary hearing.
It can also be the concluding agreement and the legal document to settle all of the marital issues so as to get a final judgment for the divorce to be granted by the judge.
If this doesn’t work then the best route to take would be either mediation or let the judge decide.
The Final Trial
It’ll be your attorney’s job to win this case for you, at the time of trial, so that your best interests could be served. The final decision will be in the hands of the judge, on the basis of the evidences presented before him, which is usually a decision made right away or within a few hours.
If you’re not happy with the decision, you have the “right to appeal” and the issue will go back to the court.