The divorce process can be complicated and emotionally draining. It involves more than just two people – it affects friends, family members, and even children. The legal processes involved in a divorce can be confusing and overwhelming for those who are not familiar with the law.
To help you understand what’s involved in a divorce, here are four key steps that typically happen during this process.
A Divorce Petition must be filed with the Court
This petition initiates the legal process and sets out each of the parties’ requests regarding property division, alimony (if any), child custody and support, visitation rights, and other relevant issues. In some states, a couple may need to wait a period before the divorce can be finalized, known as the “waiting period.”
Additionally, the divorce petition must be served upon the other spouse. This can be done by mail, personal service, or through a third party such as a process server.
Property Division is Determined by the Court
The court will try to divide the couple’s property and debts equitably, depending on each of their financial circumstances. This may involve selling shared assets and dividing up savings accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles, and more.
However, the assets are not always equal. In some cases, one spouse may receive a greater share of the property due to unique circumstances such as the length of the marriage or if one party earned significantly more than the other. There is also a question of separate vs. marital property to consider. For the property to be marital, it must have been acquired during the marriage and must not have been subject to a prenuptial agreement.
On the other hand, separate property is any property acquired or owned by either spouse before the marriage or through inheritance, gifts, or other means.
Alimony (If Applicable) will be Decided
Furthermore, the court may order one party to make payments to the other to provide financial support and assistance during and after the divorce process. These spousal payments, known as alimony, may be awarded based on the earning potential of each spouse and other factors such as age, health status, length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and more.
Additionally, the court may also award one spouse a lump sum payment in place of alimony.
The Divorce is Finalized
Once all of the issues have been resolved and the court has approved the divorce agreement, it will be officially granted. This marks the end of a long divorce process, but not necessarily an end to any payments such as child support or alimony.
Certain documents must be filed with the court after the divorce is finalized. These documents provide official evidence that the divorce has been granted and will allow for future changes to be made if necessary.
Therefore, it’s important to understand the legal processes involved, including filing a divorce petition, determining property division, deciding on alimony (if applicable), and finalizing the divorce agreement.
Through this understanding of what happens in a divorce process, you can be better prepared for tackling any issues or concerns that may arise during your journey toward separation from your spouse.
And, if you have any questions about how these steps might apply to your situation specifically, it’s best to consult with a lawyer who specializes in family law matters.