Divorce is a stressful process that can leave both parties feeling very emotional. In order to have a smooth and successful divorce, it's important to know what you're in for. This article will discuss the steps involved in the divorce process from beginning to end so that you'll have an easier time navigating this difficult transition period.
Step #1: Separate and File for Separation
First, you and your spouse should begin to separate yourselves from each other. This means that you need to start living in different homes at least part-time while still legally married. During this time of separation, it's also important to file the necessary forms with the family court so they know what is going on and can keep tabs on how things are progressing. If possible, both parties should try not to talk about any issues related to divorce during this process because it might be used against them later if a dispute arises over children or property rights down the road. Doing these two things will allow everything else involved in the divorce process to move forward smoothly without interruption or interference by either party until all matters have been resolved within the court system.
Step #2: Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Processes
When it's time to move forward with the divorce, you'll want to decide whether or not your case should be settled through a mediation process or collaborative divorce process with the help of a divorce lawyer. The difference between these two methods is that one will mean going before a judge while the other won't require any judicial involvement at all. In order for either of these processes to work, both parties need to agree on what their terms are so it might take longer than average if this agreement has yet been reached as part-time living arrangements can only go on for so long before someone becomes restless and starts pushing back against compliance. Once an agreement about how things should proceed throughout the divorce process has been made, the collaborative divorce or mediation can take place.
Step #3: Negotiate and Sign Divorce Settlement Agreement
If you're using a collaborative divorce agreement to settle your case then negotiations will be much more laid back than in adversarial proceedings because all parties involved are working together towards one goal. If it's necessary to use an alternative method of negotiating terms, such as through mediation, both sides should try their best to focus on reaching common ground rather than trying to outwit each other with every word said during this time period. Once everything is agreed upon by everyone involved throughout the negotiation process then both parties should sign off on it so that nothing can be changed or altered after this point without consulting legal counsel first. If you're going through a divorce process with an adversarial judge then most agreements will need to be put in writing prior to the finalization of your case.
Step #4: File Divorce Documents & Serve Your Spouse
Once everything has been decided and both parties have signed off on it, filing for divorce can take place by each spouse either hiring a lawyer or representing themselves throughout this legal matter. When documents are filed at the courthouse, they will usually serve as a notification that action is being taken towards legally dissolving one's marriage so it's best not to ignore any summons from there once they've been issued because doing so could negatively affect how things play out later if no valid reason exists as to why these papers weren't responded to in a timely manner. Once your spouse has been properly served with divorce papers, the waiting game begins so that everyone involved can see when they plan on responding to them before moving ahead with other aspects of the process.
Step #5: Negotiate Child Custody & Visitation Agreements
Once it's clear who gets what in terms of property division and debt distribution throughout the course of this divorce then you'll want to focus on being able to come up with an agreement about how custody should be handled concerning any children born from your relationship right away at all costs because failing to do so could end up costing you later if certain ground rules aren't set out by either party through written documents for future reference throughout their lifetime. A child custody agreement needs to be specific enough to prevent future problems between parties but general enough that it can easily fit into any family situation until the time comes when a child is old enough to decide who they want to live with on their own.
Step #6: Finalize Your Divorce Settlement Agreement & Gain Closure
Once you've worked through all of your divorce settlement issues, whether or not this process has been smooth sailing so far should become much more evident once everything has been finalized and both sides are ready to move forward with other aspects in their lives without having them dragged out for an undetermined amount of time. This doesn't mean that disagreements won't arise down the road about certain facets considering things like retirement benefits could come up after people have had ample amounts of time to adjust to the new normal once their divorce has been finalized.
Step #7: Gain Closure & Move On with Your Life
Although it's never easy dealing with a divorce, especially if children are involved in the equation as well, dividing assets and property shouldn't be used as an excuse for prolonging this process until everyone is ready to move on with other aspects of life so that they don't end up causing more damage than good regarding how you're both able to function moving forward throughout your day-to-day lives. Once all loose ends have been tied up then it should become much easier for people who were previously married together can now go back about trying to live out their own individual futures without having any residual feelings hanging over their heads.