If you have been unhappy in your marriage for some time, you may begin considering a legal end. Divorce is the one way you can terminate your marital relationship. The process may seem convoluted and complicated. In fact, if you go to your local court and download the divorce packet, chances are you will feel overwhelmed after only a few pages. It helps to get an overall idea of the process and how you can get started. Whether you choose to go through it alone or hire a divorce lawyer, understanding how to move forward before and during a dissolution of marriage may help ease the stress associated with it.
Starting the Divorce Process
A divorce begins when one of the spouses files a petition. This document is the official request for the court to terminate the marriage. The petition must state:
- The names of the parties
- The date of the wedding
- The date of separation
- The reason for the divorce
Some states only require the petition to say that the marriage cannot be fixed and is irretrievably broken. Other states allow you to give the reason behind the divorce if there is one. For example, if your spouse committed adultery, some states will allow you to cite that. However, you must also be ready to give proof of the infidelity if you want the judge to grant the divorce. The petition is then served on your spouse by a process server or sheriff. This officially starts the proceeding.
The Paperwork You Want to Keep
There are timeframes that each court establishes and things that must occur along the way. After the petition is filed and served, your spouse will have time to answer and either oppose the divorce or agree that the marriage is over. You each will then need to submit documents, like bank account information. You will want to have access to bank account numbers, social security numbers, and loan amounts.
Reaching a Conclusion
If you and your spouse agree on the terms of a property split, the divorce process may be quicker. If you have children together, however, the process may take longer, even when you agree. There are particular documents that courts require for couples with children, and these may take more time to draft. When the divorce is particularly hostile and contentious, it may take longer and expect court appearances.
The best thing you can do for yourself when you know your marriage is over is asking an attorney, like a divorce attorney from The McKinney Law Group, for expert guidance. You may come out in better shape with a professional’s assistance.