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Considering Divorce? Divorce Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights

by Loralee Weston

in Recommended Reading

The process of going through a divorce can be stressful and intimidating. With so much at stake, and so many thing happening quickly, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.

There’s a lot to be decided in a divorce — everything from dividing real estate and property to separating debts. If there are children involved, issues like custody, visitation and child support must be decided as well.

If you’re going through a divorce and looking for legal guidance, a divorce attorney can be a valuable resource. Connect with a divorce lawyer near you today — simply fill out the form below to get started.

What Happens During A Divorce?

Each state establishes its own divorce laws, so the divorce process will greatly depend on where you live. However, most states follow a general process that typically includes:

Marital Separation

In many states, a married couple must spend some time living apart before they can file for divorce. This may be difficult in households that rely on both spouses’ income, but the court may recognize living in separate bedroom as “separated” in some circumstances.

Filing the Divorce Petition

One spouse will need to file divorce papers with the local family court, and have them “served” on the other party. This begins the official divorce process. The spouses are typically referred to as the “Petitioner” and the “Respondent”. The Respondent may also file a counter-petition to contest any information in the petition.

Temporary Court Orders

The court may issue some temporary orders that will apply while the case is pending, such as temporary child support or alimony payments.

Discovery

This is the information-gathering portion of the divorce case, in which evidence is gathered by each party to support their claims. This may be as simple as answering a few questions in a sworn testimony to a full-blown investigation.

Mediation

Many courts will suggest that divorcing parties meet with a mediator to attempt resolving as many as their conflicts as possible. This tactic is designed to save the court’s time as well as produce less conflict between the parties.

Divorce Court

At some point, a couple going through a divorce will need to appear in court before a judge. Exactly how much time they’ll spend in court may depend on factors such as their state laws, their willingness to work together and how much contention there is.

Divorce Decree

Once all issues have been settled, either by the spouses through an agreement, alternative dispute resolution or by the judge, the court will issue a divorce decree, legally ending the marriage. In many states, separate documents will address issues such as child custody, property division and alimony — typically any issue other than the divorce itself.

Since divorce laws are state specific, the divorce process and requirements will vary. A local attorney can explain the requirements in your state.

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Current Topic: A divorce lawyer who is familiar with your state laws and local court system can take much of the stress out of the process.

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