When you are getting ready to separate from your spouse, it is a good idea to understand the steps that you will need to take to get divorced. It will help the process go smoothly for you since you will be aware of what the next step will be.
You will want to ask your divorce attorney about what your state's laws are concerning legal separation since some states offer it and some do not. A legal separation is especially helpful if you and your spouse have a child because a separation order will dictate the legal responsibilities that each parent will have during separation. This will help ensure that one parent doesn't just walk away from the relationship, leaving all the parenting responsibilities to their spouse.
File The Divorce Petition
You will need to officially file the petition for divorce to get the process started, which involves writing out the reasons why you want a divorce. It is best to work with an attorney for this step as well because they can assist you with filling out the documentation properly. They can help you with the wording of your reasons for wanting a divorce so that it appears more favorably to a judge.
Receive Temporary Court Orders
After the petition has been filed, you will receive a temporary court order that will need to be followed by both spouses. This is similar to legal separation court orders, but in effect until the divorce case has been settled in mediation or in court.
Not following these orders can look very bad to a judge since the temporary court orders typically deal with child support and custody matters during the proceedings.
Go To Court or Mediation
Your lawyer will always recommend mediation because it will allow you and your spouse to come to an agreement together that is reasonable. You are more likely to reach a decision that favorable to you through mediation.
If mediation is not possible, your case will need to be settled in court. The ruling will be entirely in the hands of the judge, and you will not have the ability at the time to negotiate if you do not like the ruling.
Appeal The Decision If Necessary
If you did receive a decision in court that was not ideal, you should have your lawyer appeal the decision. Appeals can only be used to overturn decisions by the judge, and not aspects of the divorce that you agreed upon prior to your court case.
Feel like your marriage is leading to a divorce? Work with a divorce attorney to ensure that the process goes smoothly.