How to File for a Divorce: The Step by Step Process

When you get married, the goal is to stay with your spouse for the rest of your life. However, that is not always possible. Over time, your career can limit the time that you spend with your significant other or disagreements over money or how to raise the kids are too much to handle. If you do want a divorce, how would you go about getting one?

Determine What Type of Divorce to File For

The first step is to determine whether you are getting a no-fault or uncontested divorce or whether there is a specific cause for the split. In an uncontested divorce, both sides agree that there are no unresolved issues. They will submit an agreed up on divorce decree that will split property and determine their parenting plan. However, if there are issues to resolve, the case may go to trial.

Where Should You File?

You will file in any location that has jurisdiction over the case. This is generally the state and county where you have resided over the last 30 or 90 days. You can check with the county clerk before filing a divorce motion in a specific jurisdiction.

Get an Attorney

Once you have determined that you are getting a divorce and where to file, you should get an attorney. Legal counsel can help you determine what your rights may be and what you may be entitled to in a divorce settlement. Attorneys may also be able to hire outside experts who can value intangible property or search for potentially hidden assets.

Litigation, Mediation or Arbitration?

In many divorces, there are at least one or more issues that cannot be resolved by the couple themselves. Therefore, they may ask a mediator to help facilitate the conversation or an arbitrator to come to a final decision after listening to both sides present their cases. Litigation is generally not desirable as the judge’s order is generally final, and all records related to the case are made public. Mediation and arbitration may lead to binding agreements, but the proceedings are kept private.

Have the Decree Entered Into the Record

The final step is to have the final divorce decree entered into the record. This decree will determine who pays joint marital debts or who gets custody of the children. It is binding, and it can only be changed through a formal court order.

Divorce can be an emotional and confusing event. However, with the right legal advice and a will for both sides to come to an amicable settlement, it may be possible for both sides to get what they want and need in a timely manner.