8 STEPS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN A DIVORCE PROCESS

>> Mar 30, 2019


If you and your spouse are considering a divorce and thinking about the steps that will be involved, it will depend on the laws of your state which will determine the further steps that you need to take during your divorce process. The family lawyers in Rockhampton are available to guide you properly.

We have a broad outline that describes a sequence of events in most of the divorce cases. Every divorce is different, so these common steps might have some added or reduced steps pertaining to a particular divorce.
 
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1.     PETITION FOR DIVORCE

This is the first step in the divorce process where a document known as ‘Original Petition for Divorce’ is filed with a local court clerk. The document requests the court to grant a divorce while also list any sort of relief which is due to the party filing for a divorce.

The original petition identifies the parties to divorce and also the children they might have. The party filing to get a divorce will need to state a reason for divorce in the petition. The individual filing for divorce is named as the “petitioner” by court while the other party in divorce is referred as a “respondent”.

This original letter of complaint is then provided to the respondent. Once done, the respondent has a time of thirty days within which he/she needs to hire a lawyer to respond to the original divorce petition. Either of the involved parties may then ask for protective, restraining or temporary orders relating to alimony and child support.

2.     TEMPORARY DIVORCE ORDERS

The court can issue a temporary order which outlines certain actions which must be taken immediately and should stay in place till the final hearing of divorce. Prime instances of things under temporary orders are spousal support, child support and child custody. Temporary orders are legally binding and not sticking to them will land you in the contempt of court. You may then be fined or jailed as per the decision of judge.

3.     DIVORCE DISCOVERY

Discovery is a mechanism that is legally designed to gather information about both the parties involved in divorce. There are five common steps in the discovery process-

l      Disclosures- Every state has a set of rules in civil procedure that determine the way in which disclosures are conducted. Lawyers of both parties ask for certain items from the other. A list of the required items is sent to the other party to which they have to respond within thirty days.
l      Interrogatories- Interrogatories refer to a set of questions that attorneys send to the party on the other side. Most of the states have a set of limits on the number of questions with the general response time being thirty days.
l      Admissions of Fact- It is a written list of facts which is aimed at the other party in the divorce. The party to receive the list of facts is asked to accept or reject every fact that is listed.
l       Request for Production- It is a legal mechanism that helps to obtain documents like bank statements, income statements or any type of documents the lawyer feels will prove beneficial to his client. The party which receives a request for production is required to reply with the documents within the span of thirty days. This is a part that can become a big hurdle in getting a swift divorce because personal information is not handed over easily by people.

4.     DEPOSITIONS

At the time of depositions, attorneys are supposed to take in a sworn testimony from the other party and also the witnesses involved. Everything which is said during the deposition can be taken up in the court if an agreement is not met and you have ended up in a divorce court.

5.     DIVORCE MEDIATION

If a couple heading for a divorce is lucky, this is the step that will prove to be the last one. In mediation, both the parties involved in divorce and their lawyers meet and discuss the conflicts which they might have and come to some kind of agreement which can take care of requirements of both parties. The ‘mediator’ is an attorney which is appointed by the court to negotiate a settlement among the parties involved in the divorce process.

6.     DIVORCE COURT

There are a lot of cases where mediation does not work out and there still a number of unresolved issues regarding which a date will be set for trial. During the trial process, both parties get an opportunity to argue their side of the case in front of a judge. It is important that each party has a discussion about a proper courtroom behaviour with your lawyer in order to make a good impression on your judge.

The case may be perfect, with proper witnesses and proof to back the claims. All of it will mean nothing if the party does not have an acceptable behaviour in the courtroom.

The judge will further be analysing the evidence to make a decision that is based on his feeling about the divorce settlement and its outcome.

7.     AFTER DIVORCE COURT

After the judge has finally made a decision, both parties of the divorce will then sign the final decree of divorce. The decree has details about how the marital property is to be divided, orders related to the custody of children, child support amount and any maintenance amount of the spouse which is under the order or any issues related to the dissolution of marriage.

Every word of the final decree should be read with a lot of attention. Any kind of changes need to be requested before you sign the decree.

8.     APPEALING A DIVORCE COURT ORDER

If either of the party feels that orders passed by the court are unfair then they may file a motion to appeal against the order, requesting a new hearing. This motion is filed with the same judge who passed the order, and there will be judges who will not set their own orders away.

Marriages which had a short duration without children and assets to split see through the entire process very quickly.

However, hiring divorce lawyers who are well acquainted with family law in Rockhampton will still be able to speed up the process in case of children and assets too.

About the Author

Vicki Jackson has a lot of experience in family law practice where she resolves all sorts of family disputes by time and in a majority of cases, without even getting to a court process. She joined South Gerald Lawyers in 1974 under the firm’s founder, Robert South.

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