PLEASE NOTE THAT THE 90-DAY WAITING PERIOD CAN NOW BE WAIVED.
Paperwork, paperwork…. Forms and other paperwork need to be completed and served on the spouse. It is important that this paperwork is completed correctly and that the correct process is followed. Failure to do so can force you to start over or worse, prevent you from getting your requested relief. Exchange of information…. At minimum, financial affidavits need to be completed, signed, acknowledged and exchanged by the parties. These forms provide a snapshot of your income, expenses, debt and assets. It is often a good idea to require the exchange additional information to cross-reference against the financial affidavit.
Parenting Program…. If you share children, you will need to take a parenting class. This class is not intended to teach you how to care for and raise children. It is designed to inform you of how the divorce or custody matter you are going through affects your children, how to handle common situations with the children’s best interests in mind, co-parenting strategies and coping strategies for difficult or sensitive matters. Failure to attend may delay your legal matter and could affect your custody or visitation orders.
Temporary Orders…. Temporary custody and/or financial orders are sometimes needed. It’s entirely possible that you can go through your whole divorce and not require any temporary orders other than the automatic orders that go into effect when you file your case. Sometimes they are necessary such as when one party moves out of marital home and the parties want certainty with regard to parenting plan. Or perhaps one party stopped contributing to the household bills or joint account that funded those bills. Maybe the situation warrants that only one party be permitted to stay in the house while the divorce is pending. For these and other reasons, a motion for temporary orders will need to be filed with the court. A hearing will be scheduled and the parties will appear and either reach an agreement which will be made an order of the court or the parties will litigate the matter and the court will make its own orders.
Settlement proposal and negotiations…. After all information is exchanged and the parties have analyzed their situation with their attorneys one or the other outlines terms as a settlement proposal. The parties negotiate the terms and hopefully reach an agreement on their own. If they cannot, they must go through some pre-trial procedures where the court or court personnel try to help settle the case. They do this by informally hearing the contested issues and offering an informal opinion as to what might happen at trial. Often, this feedback bridges the gap between the parties and settlement is ultimately reached.
Court/Trial…. If a settlement is reached, parties will have the court review and hopefully accept the terms agreed to and divorce the parties. If no settlement is reached, then the parties appear for trial. At trial testimony and additional evidence is offered to support each parties position and the court renders a decision.
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