The following information will help you understand the steps in the divorce process. We will take you through each step and explain the details throughout the process. We believe that good communication is a big part of good representation.
Initial paperwork: When you hire our firm, we will first ask you to fill out paperwork, which gives us an overview and history of your marital and financial situation. From that paperwork, we will open a file and start the initial court papers called pleadings.
Service: Our attorneys will get the pleadings to the Marshall for service. There are several methods the Marshall may use to serve the papers on your spouse. In some cases, we may be able to complete a “friendly service.” In this type of service, the Marshall will call your spouse and arrange a time for them to meet to serve the papers. For many cases, this is a good way to get the divorce started on the right foot.
90-day waiting period: Next, we will file your divorce papers with the court. This starts the mandatory 90-day waiting period (applicable for most divorces). During this period, the parties will exchange information and work to resolve any financial and custody issues. At this time, we can hold depositions and serve interrogatories to gather evidence. We can also file for any necessary temporary orders to provide for child support or alimony.
Negotiations and settlements: After evidence is gathered, we will sit down with you to make a recommendation for settlement. We can then send a settlement offer to the other party and begin negotiations. If the negotiations are successful, we will draft and file a divorce agreement, avoiding the expense of trial.
Pretrial procedures: If we are unable to reach an agreement, or are only able to agree on certain issues in the divorce, we will begin pretrial procedures. Pretrial procedures, including meetings with mediators, will be scheduled to help you and your spouse work through your differences. If there are custody issues, a social worker or other professional may be used to help determine what is in the best interests of the child.
Settlement or trial: After pretrial procedures, if you are able to reach an agreement, then we can complete your divorce. If not, we will proceed to trial and the remaining issues in your divorce will be decided by a family law judge.
Often the divorce process becomes confusing because of the emotions, and often egos, involved on both sides. Give us a call so we can help keep the process focused and promote good communication between the divorcing parties.