The divorce process, when broken down into steps, is pretty simple to grasp at first glance. Using information from Nolo.com, let’s look at the divorce process in brief.
The divorce process, in brief
The divorce process is as simple as both parties make it. Parties who agree to end their marriage by having one party file and initiate the process often have simpler divorce processes. If one party chooses to ‘blindside’ their soon-to-be ex-spouse, there’s a large chance the process will be prolonged. The process of divorce follows similar steps no matter how they’re carried out.
Filing the petition
This is the first step of the divorce process. One spouse holds the responsibility of filing the petition, even if they both agree to file the divorce. The petition generally states the grounds for divorce. The grounds usually vary between jurisdictions across the country.
These orders are usually issued on certain conditions. The most common condition involves spousal support and child custody. Usually, one spouse is required to ask the court for a temporary order granting them support or custody if they require one, the other or both. Most temporary orders are granted within days, and usually remain in full effect before a court hearing. If the party who filed the divorce petition wants a temporary order, they should file both at the same time.
Service of process
The filing party also needs to file proof of the service of process. This document informs the filing party that a copy of the divorce petition was issued to the other party. In amicable divorces, the service of process should be issued to the other parties attorney, as it’s most appropriate.
The opposing party, after they receive the service of process, needs to file an official response to the petition. If the responding party does dispute the petition, particularly if it was filed under fault grounds, they need to address that issue in their response.
If the parties can’t amicably agree on their issues, they need to enter negotiations to attempt to resolve their differences. The court gets involved in the negotiation process to help both parties move toward a final resolution of their issues. Sometimes, the court introduces mediation to attempt to resolve trickier issues like child custody or support.
If both parties can’t resolve their issues between themselves, their issues will have to get resolved by trial. Going to trial, however, often takes longer to resolve and costs more money. It’s also considered relatively unpredictable for both parties.
Order of dissolution
The order of dissolution essentially ends the marriage. It also lays out how the property, debts, custody, support and other matters will be divided between both parties. If both parties decide to negotiate and resolve their issues on their own, they draft the order of dissolution themselves and submit it to the court. For divorce trials, the judge usually issues the order of dissolution at the end of a trial.