If you have made the decision to divorce your spouse, your next step is figuring out how to do it. After you are certain that this is what you want to do, contact an experienced family lawyer who can help you work out the details of your case. In the meantime, educating yourself on the legal process ahead can make things easier down the road. For a better idea of what you can expect, here are the six steps of filing a divorce.
1. File the Paperwork
In the very beginning, the first thing you will need to do is to complete the necessary legal forms and file them with your local county court. Depending on your circumstances, you can end a marriage through a divorce, a legal separation, or an annulment. You can indicate what you want to do when you fill out the forms.
2. Serve the Petition
After the forms are complete, the next step is to have a third-party adult serve a copy of the divorce petition to your spouse, the respondent in your case. The person who serves the petition cannot be a part of the case.
3. Respondent May or May Not File a Response
Upon receiving the petition, your spouse may choose to file a response with the court, but he or she does not have to. Many people choose to respond, for example, if there are complexities to consider such as children or a history of domestic violence.
4. Someone Serves Response (If Applicable)
If the respondent does choose to respond, another third-party adult will then serve a copy of the response paperwork to you. As the server of the petition, this person cannot be part of the divorce proceedings.
5. Each Side Exchanges Financial Documents
One of the last steps in the process is exchanging financial documents and figuring out who owes and owns what. The complexity of this step can vary greatly among couples, and different factors in people’s lives can have an impact on the outcome.
6. Judge Approves the Divorce
In the last step of a divorce, the judge approves and signs a judgment. In a nutshell, the judgment says you and your former spouse are no longer together in the eyes of the law.
Contact an Attorney
Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences people face, and it can be hard to make decisions when you are going through such a trying time. One way you can make things easier is by knowing what to expect and remembering you are not alone. Contact an experienced attorney, like a divorce attorney from Robinson & Hadeed Family Law, who can help you navigate each step along the way.