Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 1 – Filing the Complaint
- An attorney helps one of the parties by filing a complaint which details reasons for the divorce, as well as the requested stipulations such as child support, spousal support. The attorney on behalf of the divorcing spouse then petitions the complaint to the court. The complaint is also served through a serves processor to the other spouse so that the other spouse may hire an attorney and respond. This is the first step of many steps of filing a divorce.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 2 – Filing the Response
- Step 2 of the steps of filing a divorce occurs after receiving the complaint. After receiving the complaint, the other spouse has a number of weeks (usually based on the law of the state) to respond to the complaint. In their response the spouse must inform the court whether they do or do not agree with every statement made in the complaint. The response can also include anything else the responding spouse wishes to put in to it, such as other stipulations they may want in regards to child custody or the division of property. The response must also be sent to the complaining parties attorney. Failing to answer a complaint is considered to be consenting or agreeing to the terms in the complaint, which essentially would give the complaining spouse a victory in court.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 3 – Document exchange & Potential Mediation
- Step 3 of the steps of filing a divorce include an exchange of information. Couples exchange information and other documents in regards to their individual assets, income, and other property that they each may have. This allows each party as well as the court to properly decide how things are divided in regards to the divorce. Failing to properly disclose all things requested could lead to a default decision for the other spouse. Some couples may first start the mediation process before turning to the court for such resolution. In some states however, courts can require the couple to enter mediation first.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 4 – Settlement
- Step 4 of the steps of filing a divorce include one of the hardest parts. If the two parties instead are able to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce after the exchange of the complaint and response. If the two are able to reach a settlement, their attorneys will meet and together will finalize the terms of the divorce. The parties will than submit their agreement to the court for its approval in an informal hearing.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 5 – Issuance of the divorce decree
- Step 5 of the steps of filing a divorce involves the judge. After the judge looks over the agreement of the divorce between the two parties, the courts will then make its final ruling. If the court approves the ruling than a divorce decree will be entered and the parties will be considered divorced and must abide by their agreement. If the judge makes additional stipulations or does not agree that the contract between the two parties is fair than the judge will order a trial to be commenced. A trial will also commence of course if there is no agreement in the first place.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 6 – Trial
- This is fairly straight forward. Each side will argue how they see the divorce, or what they want out of it in regards to assets, custody of the children, support etc. The judge will decide based on fairness on all outcomes and in the best interest of the children.
Steps of Filing A Divorce: Step 7 – Appeal
- If either party is not satisfied with the court’s ruling than they can file an appeal and if the court rules in their favor a new trial will be awarded where the party’s will again argue for their requests.
If you would like information about a separation agreement you can find our guide here. You can also find some information that will assist children when their parents are getting a divorce here.