Filing for Divorce: What You Need to Know
Published March 11, 2021
When a marriage begins to fall out, most couples know that there’s something off or something wrong. The distance starts to grow, and there are barely any conversations taking place.
In this scenario, it’s most likely because people don’t know what to do. Instead, they know what to do, but they’re unsure of doing it.
They believe that the answer, divorce, isn’t the final answer. While people’s hesitation to file a divorce is understandable, the people considering a divorce should be aware of the benefits of being the first spouse to file for divorce.
What is a Divorce?
A divorce is when a husband and wife decide not to live together anymore and no longer want to be married to each other. They agree to sign some legal papers that make them each single again and meet other people if they want.
What Happens When You File for a Divorce First?
There is one particular benefit that you can obtain when you file for divorce first. If you file for divorce early before your spouse, you are financially ready to do so.
You would have prepared all the legal documents such as bank and investment account statements, life insurance policies, wills, social security cards, titles to property. Your spouse will also need these documents and will have a more challenging time obtaining them when the divorce process starts.
These policies include life insurance, retirement accounts, changing bank accounts, selling or transferring property, and other financial moves. A Standing Order might be vital if you suspect your spouse will attempt to hide or move assets.
What Happens In a Divorce?
1. Filing the Divorce Petition
Before any married couple can start the divorce process, one spouse must file a divorce petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. The one filing the petition must provide a statement informing the court that at least one of them meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce.
They must also provide grounds for the divorce and any other statutory information that your state requires. Plenty of states have residency requirements and other requirements for divorce.
These states have varying requirements from either six months or 180 days or 60 to 90 days. Spouses looking to file a divorce must meet these requirements before any court can accept their request.
Spouses can also file for divorce by using the no-fault divorce as its grounds. It’s a fancy way of saying that both spouses no longer want to reconcile their marriage.
2. Asking for Temporary Orders
Some courts understand that the waiting period for divorce may not be understandable for all couples. Spouses may need to file temporary orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support.
The judge presiding over the case will issue these temporary orders, and they will remain valid until the court orders otherwise or the judge finalizes the divorce. Other petitions may be for temporary restraining orders or status quo payments.
3. Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response
As the spouse who petitioned for divorce, you will need to provide copies of all the paperwork from the petition itself to the temporary orders. You need to serve your spouse with proof of service; otherwise, neglecting to give your spouse evidence will make the judge unable to proceed with your case.
As the responder or the defending party, you must have a reply within the allotted time. If you fail to respond, it may result in a default judgment allowing your spouse to obtain whatever they listed down.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
This part of the divorce means negotiations from child custody, child support, and even property division. It is a given that both parties must work together to reach an agreement.
Courts will often schedule settlement conferences that include both parties and their respective attorneys. Courts may also plan for a mediation wherein a neutral third-party will help the spouses discuss old issues.
5. Divorce Trial
Most of the time, negotiations will fail, even with the assistance of mediation. At this time, the spouses will ask the court for help to settle.
Doing this will be costly and time-consuming as both parties will leave all the power to the judge to make a decision. It is best to avoid a trial since mediation and negotiations are more cost-effective and less time-consuming.
6. Finalizing the Judgment
At this stage, the judgment of divorce (order of dissolution) will end the marriage and shows the specifics about allocating custodial responsibility and parenting time. It also includes child support, spousal support, and the dividing of assets.
The filing spouse’s lawyer will typically draft the judgment. However, the judge presiding over the case will issue the final verdict if both spouses proceeded with a trial.
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About The Author
Dan Walter Reyes is a professional writer for a number of renowned websites. His passion for educating led him to study topics related to many industries in depth through sleepless nights and endless articles. He hopes to share his knowledge with the world.