Most people don't know what to expect when they initiate the divorce process. If this is your first divorce, you need to know what to expect in the process, and here are three of the most important steps you should understand.
Filing of the divorce petition
A divorce will not begin until one of the spouses files a petition for it, and this is called a divorce petition. While you could file this on your own, it is a better idea to hire a lawyer to do it for you. The lawyer who draws up the petition will also assist you through each of the remaining steps of the divorce. After filing the petition, you should realize that it must be served to your spouse to inform them about the event. You could file without your spouse knowing about it and leave it as a surprise, or you could tell your spouse you did it, which will allow your spouse to expect to receive the petition shortly afterward.
The preliminary hearing
The divorce petition will often include a court hearing date in which you must both attend, and this date is for a preliminary hearing. This hearing is actually one of the most important parts of the divorce proceedings, as it is used to create a temporary agreement for the terms of the separation period before the divorce. At this hearing, you will need to reach agreements with your spouse about issues such as who will remain in the house, who will pay the bills, and how you plan on handling all issues related to your kids.
The negotiation's process
After completing the preliminary hearing, you and your spouse will each have to work with your own lawyer to negotiate on all the details of the divorce. This will mean coming up with divisions of assets and debts and creating arrangements for child custody and child support. The process of negotiating can be a fast one if you are both very agreeable on things. Conversely, it can take months or years to complete if you can't agree on certain things. If this is the case, the judge in the courtroom will have the authority to make the final decisions for you.
These are three of the steps you will go through as you prepare for your divorce. If you need help from a lawyer, contact a family law firm today.