Beginning the divorce process is a stressful time filled with uncertainties. Understanding the process can be helpful in calming your fears. How cooperative or contentious the parties are will influence the process.
The process begins when a petition for divorce is filed by one spouse with the courts. The court will then issue a summons to the other spouse – the defendant in the case – requiring the defendant spouse to respond to the complaint.
Through the petition and response, the spouses lay out their positions and version of the issues of the divorce.
Soon after the divorcing spouses file the initial court papers to get the divorce process started, they will exchange information related to their respective economic, financial, and personal situations – including the extent of their property ownership, debt, and income. This is called the discovery phase.
By examining the information exchanged during discovery, a divorcing couple, their attorneys, and the court can begin to decide how to fairly divide up property and how to deal with divorce-related issues such as child support and spousal support.
Cases only go to court when every option has been explored and the parties require the resources of the court – either a judge or jury trial. The two parties argue their case in court and leave it to the judge or jury to resolve everything in a dispute.
A lot by clients will want to know, from start to finish, how long it will take to get divorced. It is impossible to answer because the length of time varies significantly depending upon the subjective circumstances of each case.
We’ve had complicated issues that have made the divorce proceedings longer than the marriage. And we’ve had less complicated one that took only a few months.
It comes down to how much you are willing to compromise and work with your spouse.