You may be feeling that a divorce from your partner is the right next step for you. However, the process, the emotional and psychological toll, as well as the uncertainty of how your spouse will react can cause a lot of stress and upheaval in your life. By doing some work beforehand and partnering with an experienced family law team, you can help the process to go as smoothly as possible. Having a strong legal backing in your corner who can support you every step of the way is a great first step when leaving your marriage. If you are not sure what the entire process even looks like, we take some time to outline the initial steps to help you feel as comfortable and as confident as you can while we help navigate you through this major step in your life.
Step 1: Prepare for your Divorce
It can be both liberating and intimidating to leave a relationship; especially one in which you have built your life together. However, having all your proverbial “ducks in a row” can help ease the stress and tension that often accompanies a divorce. One way to mitigate the stress is to ensure that you are organized. Creating a list or document that details: personal property, real properties of interest, as well as other items of concern will help you to stay abreast of the process. Once you have made the choice to file for a divorce our experience from both a psychological and legal perspective is that it is best to notify your spouse immediately, as a “blindside” filing for divorce often creates more tension and adds time to the process as well as increases legal fees.
Step 2: Financial Affidavit
Once the petition for divorce has been notarized, it is typically filed with a financial affidavit. This affidavit will be filed in the county of the petitioner where it will then be passed along to the opposing party. Once the opposing party has had a chance to reply to the petition, the process of discovery will occur exploring the financial claims and assets of both sides through a process that could include depositions, interrogatories, or a request to produce. If there are children involved, then a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act affidavit will be filed alongside the financial affidavit.
Step 3: Trial and Settlement Agreement
After the previous step is completed, either party can file a pleading requesting a trial. From there the court will order the parties to participate in a mediation to help outline some of the issues pertaining to child custody, visitation, child support, and alimony, for example. The parties will attempt to come to an agreement on these issues before they bring it to a judge to sign off on. Typically, when the divorcing parties can come to an agreement as opposed to having the judge make the decision during a trial, there are much higher success rates of a positive outcome.