Most people have no idea what to expect when they decide to get a divorce. Considering that divorce is a difficult legal process, it may be filled with unpleasant surprises and annoying delays. Reviewing a legal divorce timeline is always beneficial to give you a general idea of what to expect and make you feel more at ease during a difficult time.
The timeline below provides a general idea of how a divorce typically plays out, but your divorce may deviate slightly due to unique circumstances involving you and your spouse or unique legal requirements in your state.
1. Beginning the legal divorce process
One of the spouses hires a lawyer to begin the divorce process, and the attorney drafts a petition (also referred to as a complaint), which is a legal document outlining the grounds for the divorce as well as the terms for dividing assets, child custody, and other matters.
2. Making the complaint and serving it
The petition or complaint is submitted to the court by the attorney. The petition or complaint, along with a summons requiring the other spouse to respond, are served on that spouse by the attorney or the court.
3. Getting Your Partner’s Response to the Divorce Complaint
The served spouse has a set amount of time to respond (usually about three weeks). The response indicates whether or not the spouse who was served concurs with the petition or complaint. He or she is presumed to have accepted the terms of the petition or complaint if they fail to respond. The response—also known as an answer—describes the served spouse’s preferred method of handling divorce-related decisions.
4. Beginning the process of property division and exchanging documents
Documents and information about things like property and income are exchanged by the couple. The couple and the court can make decisions regarding property division, child support, and alimony by reviewing this information.
5. Engaging in negotiations or mediation
The couple may occasionally agree to settle all of their differences amicably through mediation or settlement. In some states, divorcing couples must go through this procedure.
If a settlement is reached, it is presented to the judge during a non-judicial hearing. The judge will inquire about a few fundamental facts and whether each party is aware of the agreement and chooses to sign it.
6. Getting any settlement agreement court approval
If the judge accepts the settlement, they issue the couple a divorce decree outlining the terms of their agreement. The case will go to trial if he or she does not approve it or if the couple cannot come to an agreement.
7. Taking part in a divorce trial
The judge decides the unresolved issues, such as child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and property division, after attorneys for each side present evidence and arguments at trial. The judge then grants the divorce after coming to a conclusion.
8. Contesting the judge’s judgment
A judge’s decision may be appealed to a higher court by either spouse or both spouses. However, it is uncommon for an appeals court to reverse a judge’s judgment. Also keep in mind that if both spouses accept the terms of the settlement, it is typically not subject to appeal. But if something needs to be changed after the trial, you might be able to change the divorce judgment.
Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale
Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial agreements, divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and more.
We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.