The divorce process is often a confusing and emotional time for clients. As a party to a divorce you may feel like your life is being turned upside down and you may feel overwhelmed with the process. As your attorney, my goal is to ensure you have someone you can rely on to explain the process to you and successfully navigate you through this time in your life.
The Dissolution Process
Initial Filing To obtain a divorce, the husband or wife must petition a court for a judgment of dissolution. Once the initial Petition is filed, the Respondent has a limited time to file an answer and Cross-Petition.
During the dissolution process, parties may file motions for temporary orders to address any pressing issue such as child support and spounsal maintenance that cannot wait until the final dissolution hearing. These motions often require a hearing before the Judge that has been assigned to your case. More often than not the parties are able to reach an amicable agreement as to these temporary matters, which helps both parties reduce their overall attorney fees and expenses.
Discovery is the process of gathering and exchanging information that helps educate both the clients and the attorneys as to what issues need to be resolved either through settlement and/or trial. Many courts have a standard set of questions they ask of both parties as well as a standard request for documents that each party must exchange with the other. These discovery requests must be responded to in a timely manner. Additional questions and/or documents may be requested through your attorney that are specific to your particular situation. Additional discovery tools, such as depositions and the use of expert witnesses, are available to address each unique situations that cannot be completed by more convential discovery techniques.
A large portion of divorce cases will settle before they go to trial. Once information has been exchanged between the parties they are in a better position to understand all the options and reach an amicable agreement. Mediation and/or settlement conferences help to facilitate these efforts.
Trial While it is reported that fewer than 5% of all divorces end in trial, some situations require that the Judge make the final determination as to certain issues whether it be child custody and/or visitation, spousal support, or the equalization of property. The decision to go to trial has both emotional and financial ramifications that as your attorney I will thoroughly discuss with you.