How Long Does It Take An Attorney To Prepare Divorce Documents?
When couples file for divorce, they often want the process to be as speedy and simple as possible. A good attorney can help make this happen by preparing divorce documents as quickly as possible and making sure they are compliant with the court’s rules.
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Divorce Procedures: Filing, Serving, and Responding
To begin a divorce, a petitioner needs to file a Complaint for Divorce and serve the spouse with the papers. Getting the court’s permission is necessary before service can occur, so the petitioner must contact the clerk’s office and get an index number before completing and filing the forms.
A process server or sheriff may be hired to handle the service of the papers. Typically, this process takes about 30 days to complete.
The service of the papers is a big part of any divorce process, and the sheriff or process server must follow specific procedures to ensure that the paperwork is served legally.
After the papers have been filed, a judge will decide which issues need to be dealt with and set an official hearing date. The judge will also give the case a discovery schedule. This means that the attorney will start collecting evidence and taking depositions to gather more information on the parties’ finances, assets, and property.
If no settlement is reached, the divorce will go to a preliminary conference. The court will review both sides’ financial statements and determine which issues need more attention, and the attorneys will meet to discuss potential out-of-court settlements or trial strategies.
The court may order a joint preliminary injunction (JPI) that prevents either party from selling or encumbering any of the marital estates without the consent of the other party. The JPI is a crucial step in getting a divorce started because it ensures that neither spouse can take steps to hide their finances or mislead the court.
Mediation: A mediation process, often a free service from a statewide network of nonprofits, can shorten the length of a divorce. This can save time and thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Residency: Most states require that both spouses have lived in the state for a specific amount of time before they can file for divorce. Check with a family lawyer to find out whether this requirement applies in your state.
Once the divorce is filed, it can take anywhere from three to six months for the case to be placed on the court’s calendar. The delay can be longer if your family court has a backlog of cases, and it can take even more time if you and your spouse cannot agree on all the terms of your divorce.
A divorce can take a year or more if you and your spouse have disagreements about alimony, child custody and support, property division, and debt distribution. This can be especially the case if both parties are aggressive and ready to fight.