Insight Into The Divorce Process
Divorce is not only emotionally difficult; the process of reaching the final divorce decree is often complicated and, at times, can take time. All divorces bring challenges that couples must manage; no two divorces are the same. While this may seem overwhelming, it’s possible to create unique divorce agreements that can meet the needs of both parties. Understanding the process from start to finish is key to gaining insight into the path forward. As a divorce lawyer from Robinson & Hadeed will share, the process is initiated when couples meet with their respective lawyers to discuss their specific needs and move forward by filing the divorce petition. While many divorces can be amicable, the process can break down when making agreements through the negotiation process. However, with the assistance of a lawyer, it’s possible to finalize the divorce and start fresh.
Filing a Petition for Divorce
When filing for divorce, a few options are available; couples can either hire a lawyer to help them or attempt to move forward with the process independently. The first step to initiating the process is filing the divorce petition with the county clerk’s office. Couples can file this paperwork in either spouse’s county of residence. The divorce petition informs the court of your decision to divorce. The document generally encompasses information about the marriage, the reason for divorce, and the children involved. Even if both parties agree with the divorce, one party is responsible for filing the petition. Once the petition is filed, the filing party must serve the paperwork to the other party. This is known as the service of process, which can be done by the filing party or a court representative.
Mediation for Negotiating a Divorce
Some spouses have already developed agreements before filing for divorce. However, there may be some sticking points that require additional negotiations. For some, forming agreements may be more litigious, making negotiations more in-depth. Depending on state laws, alternative dispute resolution may be necessary. The most popular form of alternative dispute resolution is mediation, a process where both parties come together to form agreements with an impartial third party. A mediator can help parties by facilitating conversations about crucial decisions that may invoke powerful emotions for those involved. Mediators do not offer legal advice and work on drafting agreements. When accessing a mediator, a lawyer can play an integral role by advising their clients on the agreements being made and helping them to understand these decisions and keep their interests at the forefront.
Types of Agreements to Make
When negotiating agreements, even couples on relatively good terms may have difficulty making concessions. Decisions over how a life once shared will be divided can cause emotions to run high, which can sometimes cause the negotiation process to become more prolonged than initially planned. Common types of agreements many couples will have to make decisions around include the following:
- Division of Property
- Division of Assets
- Division of Retirement Assets
- Child Custody Arrangements
- Child Support Agreements
- Spousal Support
When developing these agreements, communication is imperative to the entirety of the process. Divorce can sometimes feel like a battle, and when parties are angry and hurt, it can be challenging not to focus on winning. Remember that the best way to move forward after ending a marriage is by successfully negotiating and developing agreements. Having the opportunity to make these decisions together can be far more successful than battling issues out in court, leaving a judge to make the decisions. Once agreements are made and each party signs, the judge will review the agreement. Finally, the final divorce decree can be issued.