Filing for divorce involves many different steps. Some major steps in the process include:
- Filing the papers: You will first need to file papers with the court to initiate the divorce process. These are called by many names, including "Original Petition for Divorce", "Letter of Complaint", or simply, "divorce papers". These provide notice to the other party of the upcoming divorce process.
- Discovery: once the other party acknowledges receipt of the papers, the discovery process begins. This is where the parties exchange relevant information and documents in preparation for the trial.
- Actual court hearings: Here, the judge reviews all the information and data to resolve various legal issues and concerns like property and custody matters.
- Appeals: These may be necessary if there are some issues remaining after judgment has been issued.
In some cases, divorce can involve other steps as deemed necessary by the judge. For instance, the judge may require one or more of the parties to supply additional documents, such as bank statements or property records. These often have to do with determinations regarding property distributions in divorce.
Can Divorces Be Contested?
Contesting a divorce can happen for various reasons. In most divorce contests, there is usually a single issue that is in dispute that needs to be resolved. Sometimes, both parties may agree to the idea of divorce, but there may be legal dispute over one issue. Common points of contention in a divorce case include:
- Property distribution
- Child custody/visitation and child support
- Rights to heirlooms and other valuable items
- Compensation for contributions offered during the marriage (such as additions to property, contributions to student tuition for the other spouse, etc.)
These types of disputes are generally resolved based on documented evidence, such as bank receipts, account info, property records, and other types of documents. Some divorce cases can also uncover issues where one spouse needs to pay the other damages. These may be added to the overall divorce decree that is issued at the end of the trial.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Filing for Divorce?
Filing for divorce can be a complicated matter. It is usually recommended that you hire a family law attorney if you will be filing for divorce. Your attorney can represent you throughout the entire process, and can provide you with legal advice for your claims. Also, your lawyer can provide assistance if you need to interact with the other party in the divorce case.