Divorce Lawyers: Understanding the Divorce & Separation Process

If you have made the decision to file for divorce, you will want to educate yourself on the basics of divorce law. You should also consider reaching out to a divorce attorney. Divorce attorneys can assess your case and help guide you throughout the divorce process.

This article will provide you with a basic guide to the divorce process and help you decide when to hire a divorce lawyer.

Review Your State's Divorce Requirements

Each state sets different residency requirements for divorcing couples. This usually means one of the spouses must have resided in the state for a certain period of time prior to filing for divorce. If you are making the decision to divorce, this is the perfect time to hire a divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer can tell you if you meet your state's requirements.

You may also need to cite a particular reason, or grounds, for divorce. Each state has a different set of allowable grounds. Once again, a knowledgeable divorce attorney from your area can assist you.

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Gather Relevant Documents

You will want to gather any documents that may be relevant to the divorce process. What documents you gather will depend on your circumstances. For example, if you share property, you will want to locate copies of the properties' deeds and titles. If you and your spouse have minor children together, you will want to gather information that speaks to you as a parent.

Relevant documents include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Income tax records
  • Pay stubs
  • Mortgage, loan and credit card statements
  • Photographs of you, your spouse and your children

If your spouse is filing for divorce, you should start this process immediately after you have been served with a copy of the divorce petition. You should also then take the necessary steps to hire a divorce lawyer.

File Your Divorce Petition

If you are filing for divorce, you and your attorney will want to prepare the divorce documents, usually referred to as the divorce petition or petition for dissolution of the marriage. You will then want to file the petition with the proper family law court. Your attorney can help direct you to the proper court. You will have to pay court filing fees, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Go To Trial

After your spouse is given a copy of the divorce petition, he or she will have an opportunity to respond. If there is a dispute, you will likely have to settle the disagreement in court before a judge.

If you have not hired a divorce attorney at this point, you will want to hire one prior to going to trial. Your attorney will not only help you gather evidence and build your case, but he will also be your strongest advocate.

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