divorce is one of a few processes in which a marriage can be legally terminated. In some cases, the process of divorce can begin well before any legal action begins. For instance, some cases of marital separation are actually the beginning phases of a process that ultimately ends in divorce.
Ultimately, a divorce means that the couple’s marriage is terminated. This can result in several other effects, such as changes in property ownership, child custody, and other matters. Divorce laws are different in each state, and each case may be different depending on how long the couple has been married.
What Are Some Main Steps in the Divorce Process?
Legally speaking, there are a few key phases in the divorce process to consider. These include:
- Filing: This is where one party submits a form with the court to begin the process. This may also notify the other party of the upcoming legal proceedings.
- Exchange of Documents: Also called "discovery", this is where the parties both uncover important documents to be used in trial, such as bank account statements, receipts, loan information, debt info, and other data.
- Hearings: This is where the parties appear before a judge, where they will all review any particular points of dispute.
- Judgment: The judge will then issue a divorce decree when all decisions have been made. This usually indicates important information such as spousal support amounts, property and asset distribution, and responsibilities with regards to child rearing.
In many cases, the divorce decree can later be amended or modified if there are "changed circumstances" with either party. This will often require more hearings to determine the status of the changes.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with the Divorce Process?
The divorce process can sometimes be very involved and can take some time to fully complete. You may need to hire a divorce lawyer if you need help filing for divorce. An attorney can assist you with the process from beginning to end. Also, if there are still issues to be worked out as time goes on, your attorney can provide legal advice when modifying or adjusting a court order.