Most people have no idea how the divorce process works until they initiate it. If you want to begin a divorce, it may be helpful for you to learn the main steps involved in the process. There are many steps involved with a typical divorce case, but here are the primary four steps you must take to get divorced.
1. Filing the Divorce Petition
You cannot start the divorce process without a petition. This petition is a document you complete with your divorce lawyer. He or she then files it with the local court system. The petition states that you wish to initiate a divorce, and this form starts the process.
2. Serving the Other Spouse
The divorce process starts with your petition, but the process does not begin until the other spouse receives a notification about the divorce petition. For this to happen, someone must serve the papers to your spouse. There are a variety of ways to serve this document to your spouse. You can do it yourself if you wish. You can also have the court serve the paper, or you can mail it. The crucial point is making sure your spouse receives it. Your spouse needs time to respond to it, and he or she cannot do that without the petition in hand.
3. Attending the Preliminary Hearing
Shortly after your spouse receives the petition, the court will schedule an initial hearing. This hearing will be the first of several that you and your spouse must attend. Courts call this a preliminary hearing, and you will need to prepare for it. The purpose is to create a temporary agreement on the issues you must settle in your divorce. You will establish arrangements for your house, debts, assets, and kids.
4. Negotiating and Settling on the Issues
The next stage of a divorce is the process of negotiating and settling all the issues. This stage normally takes longer than any other step. It requires working out agreements on every topic you have, and it may require some give and take. If you cannot reach agreements on the issues, the court gets to decide. Therefore, it's vital for you and your spouse to reach mutual arrangements on every issue.
As you can imagine, there are other steps along the way. These are the four main ones of the divorce process, though. To get started on your divorce, contact a divorce attorney.