The process of divorce

If you have decided to get a divorce, you should know how the process works. State laws declare that a divorce or a dissolution action has to be filed in court and decided in court. The divorce process can be scary and overwhelming from the beginning to the ending. It is important to have legal counsel and attorneys to help you along the way. If you know what to expect, the most anxious and frustrating steps in the process will be easier to understand and deal with. It could be a stressful experience, and divorce, unfortunately, seems to bring out the worst in people.

In spite of the challenges you might face along the way, the ultimate goal of a divorce is to end the marriage, decide child custody and visitation and also divide the property and assets.

Divorce is a process

There are two kinds of divorce: contested and uncontested. That will most likely be the first question your attorney will ask you. A separation is usually the first step in the process of divorce. You can expect that one spouse will move out of the residence you have previously shared.

Occasionally, a couple will choose the option of a legal separation. The couple is still considered as legally married, but are living apart. The benefit of this arrangement is that it will allow both spouses to retain certain benefits, such as insurance.

To begin the divorce process your attorney will fill out a divorce petition or a letter of complaint. The petition will ask for the grounds of the divorce. All states have a no fault dissolution available. This is the most commonly used petition for divorce today.

After the papers have been filed and served to your spouse, your attorney may set up the time and court proceeding for a temporary hearing. This will resolve any issues that must be dealt with immediately. In most cases, these issues relate to where the parties will live, child custody & child visitation, and spousal support.  Also, how debts and bills are paid may be determined during the temporary hearing. The facts are that temporary hearings do set the precedent for the final hearing, you need to seek out an experienced divorce attorney to represent you throughout the case. Divorce can take many months and sometimes years to settle.

Also, there is a discovery process which takes about six months but can vary from case to case. Each party is given the opportunity to ask for specific documents and ask written questions that will have an impact on the divorce proceedings. The goal is to have important and valuable information that will influence the outcome of the case in hand before the discovery process is complete.

Also, it will give you documentation to establish your arguments according to the state law. You may be under oath, always must answer truthfully, and must meet the deadlines given to you.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution is another avenue of resolving a legal dispute instead of the typical litigation. Alternative dispute resolution is a process where the parties may dissolve any outstanding issues. It is cost effective but does add another step to the divorce process.

Depending on your specific case mediation, arbitration, or a settlement conference may be used to help settle the case before the trial outside of court.

Mediation is where a neutral person, usually a skilled attorney specializing in divorce, will listen to both sides and assist in an amicable dissolution. It will eliminate any pressure of trying to convince the judge of who’s case is better. This allows both parties to reach a compromise.

Arbitration is the opposite of mediation where the arbiter or panel makes a decision in the case presented by each party or attorneys.

A settlement conference is when the parties and their counsels meet without a neutral party to resolve the issues before attending court.

The final hearing is when the two parties have used all methods of dissolution without going to trial. They must appear before a judge for a final trial. Most commonly, a spouse will ask for a bench trial. This means there is a judge that has been assigned to hear the case will hear arguments and testimony given by both sides. This will be done before entering a final decree of divorcement. The judge will review all evidence and will dissolve any conflicts that were not settled before the hearing.

The judge then will give special orders about how the parties will operate and following the divorce. Child custody and child support will be decided. Alimony and equal division of the assets will be decided by the judge, also. The judge makes the decision right away or within just a few hours. The judge’s rulings are legally enforceable.

Finally, the spouse has the right to appeal. If the appeal is granted, the case goes back to court.

If you have any questions about the process of divorce an experienced divorce attorney in Georgia can help you navigate the long process of divorce.