What are the procedures required to be followed before filing papers for divorce?
Divorce is difficult, often complex and mostly expensive. It is not simply the breaking of a legal contract. You are also disentangling your life from another. Emotions run high during any divorce process, and people’s egos get in the way too. People can become so wrapped up in the specifics of their divorce that they forget about the financial toll it is taking on them.
A divorce where the parties have been married for a relatively short period and have no children and little property, will obviously be less involved than the situation where the parties have been married for a lengthy period, have young children and have significant property assets and financial interests to divide.
The more that can be agreed by the parties the better – and cheaper.
The first step what can be a lengthy divorce process is filing a petition. Despite an agreement to divorce, one of them will have to commence by filing a petition requesting the divorce, stating the grounds, which will depend upon a number of factors, including the jurisdiction.
All jurisdictions allow for some type of no-fault grounds such as “irreconcilable differences”, but only a few states still consider fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abandonment. Your lawyer will indicate what ‘fault grounds’ are available in your state and whether such filing makes sense.
There are a variety of other factors that come into play, however.
For instance, there may be temporary orders sought. One spouse may depend upon the other for custody of children or for financial support so that household bills can be paid.
A temporary order is usually granted within a few days and will remain in effect until a full court hearing. If the party seeking the temporary order is the same party who files the petition, they should generally file them at the same time. If the party seeking the temporary order did not file the petition, it would be appropriate that they should file their request for the temporary order as soon as possible in order to obtain the appropriate order.
These provide some indication of the various factors at play before commencing divorce proceedings or filing papers for divorce.
First, ensure you have a lawyer experienced in the area.
Good Legal Professionals – Your Guide in Shining Armour
A divorce, on paper, is primarily a legal process. Sure, there is the emotional aspect to a divorce. But for the government, marriage is simply a contract, and a divorce is a break from that contract. A couple could both want a divorce, and this makes this process shorter. If you file for mutual divorce, you might be able to skimp on the legal fees.
However, it is always sound advice to get a lawyer who knows the divorce process and will make it as painless and quick as you would like it to be. There are many types of legal professionals, and a good lawyer would help you navigate the courthouse and prevent you from being taken advantage of by someone less qualified.
Divorces and procedures for divorce are intended to provide ease of action so that there are not significant roadblocks in the way of achieving that outcome.
There can be uncontested divorces that may not require a lawyer’s involvement. However, it is always advisable to at least have a lawyer look through your agreement in even an uncontested divorce to make sure that your rights and interests are appropriately protected. A lawyer can also make sure that your agreement is likely to be accepted by the court, and that you are not overlooking any important issues that could arise down the road.
When looking for a divorce lawyer, ask some key questions when you have any initial consultation, such as –
==> What is the attorney’s track record of divorce work, even for minor issues in such actions;
==> would your lawyer support any decision to achieve an out-of-court settlement?
==> is your lawyer receptive to mediation or collaborative options to fighting the matter out in court?
Therapy – Can You Pay for It?
A divorce is a major life event. Many judges ask whether the couple has tried reconciliation before they grant a divorce. They may also ask couples and families to attend therapy. Therapy is, of course, a significant expense. If you factor in children and others going to therapy, then the costs add up significantly. See if the prospective judges who will oversee your case have a track record of suggesting therapy.
Even if the judges don’t ask for it, if you have a child involved, engaging a therapist might be a great idea. Children, especially adolescents, may need extra emotional support at this time. As divorce would be a challenging transition for them, you should account for therapy for the children before you file for divorce.
Your Property Is Divided, but What About Your Retirement?
Property is a significant investment that most couples usually make together. A house or piece of land is often seen as a retirement fund. By the time you retire, you would have paid off the house, thus saving you rent when you live off your savings. You can also bank on selling your house if you get into major financial hardship.
You need to have a good lawyer if splitting the property would put a massive dent in your savings. You don’t want to lose your investment because you didn’t know you could utilize a loophole to keep your assets in your possession.
Hiring a qualified and experienced attorney such as an QDRO attorney is an obvious way to help protect yourself and your future from being taken advantage of. Using such experts will assist in providing the best protection for yourself, your family and assets.
Disentangling Financially Is an Unexpected Challenge
One of the advantages of marriage is that you can share finances. When you live in a house with dual income, it is much easier to pay for a new car or make loan payments. You also tend to buy things and open bank accounts together, leading to bureaucratic problems when you file for divorce. You might even have to pay extra fees or higher costs on large investments.
For example, depending on the local laws, name changes on a car may not be possible. Instead, you might have to refinance your vehicle, increasing the cost significantly instead of changing the ownership of the vehicle and the loan. Many similar hidden fees like this can keep you busy for years after the divorce. Make sure you research your local laws or ask your lawyer about these specifics before bringing up divorce with your spouse!
Both marriage and divorce can provide challenges. They are both time-consuming and can have significant financial and emotional impacts on your life. While your rapport with your current partner can substantially affect the divorce, even the most mutually wanted divorces are complex, messy, and expensive.
Source: McKainLaw LLC
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