When you are struggling in your marriage and in need of advice, there are a few things to consider before making a plan to file for a divorce. Since dissolving a marriage can greatly impact you and your family, it is a heavy decision that warrants time to weigh all of your options. It is not a choice to be made lightly or when in the throws of heightened emotions.
Once you have made the decision to move forward, you would want to seek out legal support by interviewing more than one attorney. Make sure to choose the one that fits your style and understands your goals. Your attorney will help you to understand all the documentation you will need to gather before filing the petition for divorce.
If custody of children will be a factor in the divorce, you will want to prepare a co-parenting or custody plan that will help the judge determine which parent will be the primary one. Going into your divorce with a proposition will help make the process faster and less painful. In most cases, unless there are significant reasons otherwise, you and your spouse will share custody.
In most cases, a divorce takes about a year to settle after the petition is filed. Whether you and your spouse agree on the divorce, a petition for divorce must be filed by one of you. The petition will establish the legal right to a divorce in the state in which you file. It will offer grounds for the divorce, though many states are no-fault states or allow couples to file a no-fault divorce in any case.
If any temporary orders (such as restraining) are necessary during the year it takes for the divorce to be settled, the court will allow you to file for them at this point. After that, your spouse will be served the petition for divorce. If you and your spouse are both in agreement about the dissolution of marriage, this process on average takes six months to a year depending on the specifics of your case. If not, hire a professional that is licensed and experienced in serving legal documents to unwilling participants.
Mediation and Court Alternatives
Negotiation of a settlement can be easy if you and your spouse can work together to reach an agreement that is amenable to all parties. Mediation provided by your attorney or a professional outside mediator can help save time and money when you forgo the formality of a trial and settle out of court. When a couple cannot agree on how to share custody of the children, divide assets and property, and provide child or spousal support, the court must intervene.
If at all possible, it is recommended to avoid a trial and opt for meditating a settlement. However, sometimes, reaching a successful compromise is not possible. No one wins in these kinds of cases. It is usually more a matter of how much it costs, how long it takes, and which spouse suffers the most. A trial takes the power out of your hands and puts it in the court’s hands, so it is best to avoid court if you can. Once a judgment is finalized by the judge, the divorce will be complete.
Contact S. DeBoer Today
Reach out to us at S. DeBoer Attorney at Law for help. Our goal is to successfully mediate, negotiate, and settle your divorce with as little emotional upheaval as possible for you and your family. If you are considering a divorce and need some advice, contact us today for a no-obligation, free consultation.