According to the American Psychological Associations, between 40% and 50% of all married couples end up getting a divorce.
There are many steps to file for divorce that you will go through, all while dealing with a highly emotional situation. Make sure to know these eight steps.
1. Ensure All Important Documents are In Safe Custody
Being able to produce the right documents during divorce can make a big difference in the outcome of the case. All relevant documents, such as proof of valuable possessions and track of all financial records, should be in safe custody and readily available when needed.
Proper document organization makes it easy for divorce attorneys to prepare your case. The divorce process is very unpredictable, hence, essential to have all your documents in order. You may feel like everything is running smoothly and the next you’re served a restraining order in which case you need to move out.
In such moments of confusion, you may forget some relevant documents. But if you had placed them in safe custody beforehand, you’ll have no problems in case your attorney requires them.
2. Seek an Attorneys Help
As Maynard Law Firm elaborates, there are several types of divorce and speaking to attorney helps you and your spouse decide one the best. The attorney provides you with information about all the requirements of a successful divorce process.
Before you meet your divorce lawyer for the first time, prepare a list of all the questions you need to ask him. Preparing beforehand ensures that you don’t forget anything since next time you remember it, the attorney may charge you a consultation fee. In most cases, the questions you ask relate to child custody and financial issues.
3. Getting a Private Post Office Box is One of the Major Steps to File Divorce
Having a P.O Box is essential when going through a divorce. It’s through this address that the court and your spouse will be contacting you throughout the divorce process. If you haven’t received your divorce letter yet, it will be sent to the provided mailing address.
If you don’t have a permanent place yet when opening a mailing address, ask a close friend to allow you to use their physical address. In this case, your name is a secondary recipient. However, it’s necessary to include a return address to avoid having all your mails getting returned.
4. Filing Divorce Petition
One of the significant steps to file for divorce is filing a petition in which case the local court clerk receives the original petition for divorce. The appeal is a request to the court to grant you a divorce from your spouse.
The objective of this letter is identifying the involved parties and any children the divorcing partners may have. The person filing for divorce is known as the petitioner, while the other person is considered the defendant or respondent.
The petitioner must indicate the reason for seeking a divorce. The most common reasons people give are incompatibility or irreconcilable differences.
The respondent is served with a divorce letter by the local sheriff. The respondent is given thirty days to seek an attorney and respond to the petition. After these thirty days, either party can file for restraining orders and temporary child custody.
5. Open New Bank Accounts
When you’re married, all your financial accounts are considered marital property. When you file for divorce, you’ll need to pay your divorce lawyer and other bills. Having a new financial account, therefore, ensures that you don’t have troubles trying to access your accounts.
Sometimes, your attorney may advise you to withdraw some cash from your joint accounts if your state law on divorce allows it. To avoid running out of cash during the divorce process, try to practice better spending habits.
6. Divorce Mediation
During the divorce process, you may agree with your spouse to try and sort your issues outside the court. The mediation process is done in the presence of your lawyer and that of your spouse. The court designates an attorney to act as a mediator.
The aim of trying mediation is to help solve your conflict amicably and reach an agreement that suits both parties. The mediator’s responsibility, in this case, is to try and help you and your partner reach a favorable settlement.
7. Facing the Divorce Court
If the mediation doesn’t bear favorable fruits, you and your spouse will have to face the divorce court on a set trial date. During the hearing, you are both allowed to argue your case in the presence of a judge. Your attorney will advise you on proper courtroom behavior to help you give the judge a good impression about yourself.
Improper courtroom presentation can hurt your case no matter how compelling your argument is. It’s good to go to the court, well dressed, and act polite when your time comes. The judge uses all the evidence presented to him to determine the final verdict of your divorce proceedings.
At times, the judge may deem it right to give you a waiting period of 14 days. In case you don’t hear from the court, then it’s wise to consult with your lawyer. The lawyer contacts the court, notifying them that you’re still waiting to hear from the judge.
Once the divorce proceedings are over, you and your now ex-spouse signs the final divorce decree. The decree explains how you should share any marital property and child custody. Make sure you go through the order and request for any changes before signing.
8. Your Children Should Be Your Number One Priority
When going through a divorce, you need to be at your best when it comes to your kids as your spouse can use any inappropriate behavior against you in case. Consequently, you may end up losing child custody, no matter how close you are with your children.
For instance, during this entire divorce period, you may want to keep any romantic partners away or see your children when drunk. If you’ve been asked out of your marital home, make sure you get accommodation that is safe for your kids. Such small requirements can mean a big difference between winning and losing child custody.
Seek Professional Divorce Attorney Services
Now that you’re conversant with the steps to file for divorce, don’t hesitate to apply them when the need arises.
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