Divorce Proceedings

Divorce Papers > Divorce Proceedings

Divorce is a legal termination of marriage. With changing time, the rate of divorce has seen a leap in most of the countries, especially in the US and UK. Divorce in the United States is ruled under the province of state government and not the federal government. Divorce laws in each state varies from the other in this country. Divorce proceedings involve several steps starting from filing a petition for divorce at the family court of law. The legal process of divorce may also involve settlement of issues regarding alimony, child support and custody, property and asset distribution and debt division, concerning the end of the marriage.

The major reasons cited for divorce in US are early marriages, lack of communication, financial conflict, conflict of opinions, interests and personal preferences. US allows divorce with no-fault and at-fault basis. A divorce may be a contested or an uncontested one. In recent years, do-it yourself, collaborative or mediation process have become quite popular options.

Steps involve in a divorce process

Divorce proceedings are initiated when a married person seeking for divorce procures the right paperwork, inclusive of the petition for divorce. Depending on whether this person is filing individually or jointly, different states have different forms. All essential forms must be filled and filed in the appropriate county court. Some states prescribe some waiting period to begin the divorce proceedings. The following steps are usually followed in US in getting a divorce finalized. However, each State may also include few specific process pertaining to their set laws. The usual steps followed are:

  • The "Original Petition for Divorce" is filed with the Family Law Court by one of the spouse.

  • If both parties agree on key issues of property and debt division, support and child custody, alimony, the divorce gets finalized without a trial. While, in case the parties can't come to an agreement, the court sets a time for a hearing, usually some time in the future

  • After filing of the divorce papers is complete, the court might issue temporary orders that are enforced till the finalization of the divorce. On the Temporary hearing date, the judge will make temporary child custody, support and restraining orders

  • The next step is to engage in the discovery process which is an exchange of information of the personal and financial positions. Some of the formal devices used in discovery are as follows:
    • Document production: Both the spouses make the documents pertaining to the marriage, the divorce, incomes and separate property available to the other spouse
    • Interrogatories are questions asked to a spouse to know his/her version of various facts and how he/she would support his/her demands
    • Requests for admission comprises of a process in which a spouse agrees to or refuses certain facts
    • Depositions are sworn statements. A court reporter makes a transcript of the answers given by a spouse to a lawyer

  • After the discovery is completed, the parties and their attorneys will discuss settlement of the case. The parties and their attorneys may attend mediation. If the case is resolved by agreement, one of the attorneys will prepare a Decree of Divorce

  • The decree of divorce will be signed by both the parties, followed by the judge. It includes a detailed information on the agreements the couple will settle on issues like child custody and support, alimony and the division of the couple's property, assets and debt

  • If the parties do not reach a settlement agreement on all of the issues in the case, a trial will take place. Here, each party will be able to put on witnesses, cross - examine the other side's witnesses and make closing arguments. The judge will hear both sides of the case at trial and will then come to a decision

  • After the trial has concluded, the Decree of Divorce will be prepared. This is the document that contains the court's orders. When the Decree of Divorce is signed by the judge, the case is concluded

Opting for help in divorce proceedings

It is possible to file for divorce without the services of a lawyer. However, if the person is not sure which forms are to be filed or the custody of his/her children is in dispute or there are considerable assets to be distributed etc, it is recommended to take help of a lawyer. A mediator or arbitrators may also be appointed to help resolve issues and get proper guidance.

With increasing use of internet, there are various online options to help the divorce process complete with ease. One may find all necessary information regarding laws, rule, forms, contacts of lawyers, lawyer firms, various divorce forums, groups, etc. online to help a person who is considering or going through a divorce. Several post-divorce assistance are also available online.

Divorce proceedings in US is quite complex. Before filing for a divorce, one should be fully aware of their respective state laws. It is to be remembered that one should have a complete understanding of the rules and processes that are being followed. An attorney can help complete a divorce process by following the required legal formalities in view of the rights and interests of both parties.

Here are some topics associated with divorce proceedings:

Divorce Papers


Annulment
Legal Separation

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