Filing for Divorce
Filing for divorce is not an easy decision and then once you make the decision the process is not easy. There are steps to take to ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently.
1. Consider an Attorney vs. Mediation
Because divorce is a legal action, professional advice is necessary in many cases. Some people represent themselves in a no-fault divorce, but hiring a divorce lawyer can help answer questions, and guard against any problems that may arise during the divorce proceedings. In an amicable divorce case, another option is mediation, which can be less costly but not provide the same safeguards as a lawyer, who is hired to care for the best interests of their clients. Divorce is an emotional process, and the longer the marriage the more there can be to negotiate, especially when there are children involved. This should be one of the first things to consider when filing for divorce
Divorce proceedings start with filing for divorce, you have to file a petition for divorce. Because of the legal nature of the document, a lawyer can help ensure that the forms are filled out correctly and all questions are answered in a clear, correct manner. The paperwork deals with issues such as joint property, shared assets, support and attorney fee requests. It is important that these documents are filled out properly to ensure that your rights are not waived. However, more forms may be required for couples with children. Once the paperwork is filed, the court assigns a case number and the official process begins.
3. Financial Disclosures
The disclosure portion of a divorce is like a show-and-tell of financial and property holdings. Each party in the divorce has to disclose all assets, debts, incomes, and expenses. Honesty is the best policy here, and a party can get into legal hot water for not disclosing with full factual information. Disclosing more than necessary can be the best policy, so that one party can’t take issue with the information given and draw out an already painful process.
4. Settlement Negotiation
After preliminary disclosures are made, the tough work of settlement negotiation begins. Most divorces can settle out of court with the help of lawyers. There are several types of common divorce settlements, including:
- Negotiations between lawyers acting on behalf of their clients, who are not present;
- A settlement meeting where both lawyers and clients are present;
- A divorce mediation, which is attended by both spouses and a retired family law judge. While lawyers may attend, however some couples decide to go without their legal teams; and
- A court settlement, where the case goes to trial in order to settle.
Regardless of the method chosen for the settlement negotiations, your case will have to end sometime. You can save a lot of time and money by working together to come to a settlement rather than going to trial.
5. Waiting Period
In some states, such as California, there is a mandatory waiting period between separation, serving the divorce documents and filing the official petition. Even in the best case scenario where spousal support, asset negotiation and child support are agreed upon with no conflict, there is a six month waiting period before the divorce can be finalized.
If you are in the process of filing for divorce or are thinking about filing for divorce, there are steps to take to ensure an efficient process. The process can be daunting since there is a lot of paperwork, consider hiring an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process.
Minella Law Group can help you with your divorce. For more information or to schedule a consultation, click the button below, or call us at 619-289-7948. We look forward to helping you.