DIVORCE is not a simple process, but a rather complex and often life changing event that will affect not only you, but your children. This is simply a roadmap. You don’t have to do it alone, find competent counsel to guide you through.
Your lawyer will Draft the necessary documents.
Your attorney will begin the process by initiating or responding to the petition for the dissolution of marriage and completing other related documents. This is your opportunity to inform the court of what you are asking for, as well as provide a quick summary of your marital assets and family situation. If you are the petitioner, once the documents are notarized and filed with the court, they are served upon the other party through a certified process server.
You may need Immediate relief.
Your attorney can set a temporary relief hearing to petition the court for temporary financial support, if you've been a stay at home parent throughout the marriage, or make substantially less than your soon to be ex-spouse. Past domestic violence can be an indicator of future domestic violence. If you are in fear for your physical safety, or that of your children, the court may impose a temporary injunction against your former spouse to prevent any future potential domestic violence. An injunction may also be granted by the court to keep him/her from leaving the state with the children, and hiding or disposing of the marital assets.
You case is subject to Verification of assets and Open disclosure.
Each party is required to produce all documents related to finances, such as a financial affidavit, recent bank statements, pay stubs, investment, insurance, retirement account statements and other relevant documents showing one's financial position. Financial assets provide the basis for establishing child support and/or alimony.
Each case has Required mediation.
The court will not set a final hearing until the parties have participated in mediation. Mediation is the opportunity for the parties to reach a mutual agreement or settle at least some of the issues. Mediation is often conducted with the husband and wife in separate rooms with their attorneys and the neutral mediator meeting individually with each party until an agreement or an impasse is reached. At mediation, husband and wife have the opportunity to settle who gets what and who lives where without the court deciding the final outcome. Matters that cannot be resolved in mediation are settled in trial by the judge, often a complete stranger to the parties.
All parents are mandated by law to enroll and complete a Co-parenting class.
This is a four-hour class that prepares you and your spouse for parenting effectively separately, but together. It can be completed online or in person. The cost ranges anywhere from $20 to $60. The course must be court approved to meet the requirement. Upon completion, the certificate of completion is filed with the court.
You and your lawyer will develop an Exit strategy and prepare for the final trial if there is no agreement.
Depending on the complexity of the issues, the trial can last from a few hours to several days. Any matters that could not be agreed upon will be presented to the judge for final determination. There are no juries to win over or persuade, just the judge. Each party has the opportunity to present their case as to why they deserve what. Each party may testify, witnesses may be called, exhibits and other evidence presented. Depending on the issues to be decided by the judge, past and current misconduct will be heard. After all evidence is presented, the judge will make decisions that will impact the rest of your life.