Divorce: Preparing for divorce & important considerations, uncontested divorce
Preparing for divorce can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Whether you’ve made the decision to end your marriage or are simply exploring your options, it’s essential to educate yourself on the divorce process, your legal rights, and your financial responsibilities. This section provides educational material on how to approach divorce, optimizing your mindset, issues you should consider, uncontested divorces, the role of mediation, and more.
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FAQ on Preparing for divorce & important considerations
Immediately contact an attorney. You have 20 days to respond to the complaint with your position on the divorce and to make requests yourself – the document to file is called an answer and counterclaim. Although this deadline can be extended under certain circumstances, it’s best to act quickly. By the time you receive a divorce summons, you probably should’ve already contacted an attorney, but if you haven’t, you should certainly act quickly once you’re served to ensure you respond in a timely manner and begin to plan your strategy.
If someone refuses to sign divorce papers, the case continues until it eventually becomes time for the court to issue an order or a judgment. No one is forced to sign a divorce agreement. However, absent an agreement, the judge after considering evidence on the contested issues, will decide the issues.
There’s a range of anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years depending on whether the divorce is contested and the complexity of the issues. An uncontested divorce is processed relatively quickly because there are no contested issues, so the case consists only of filing the necessary documents and having the divorce approved a few weeks later by a judge. A contested divorce, on the other hand, may be resolved within a few weeks if the parties come to an agreement, but it also may take much longer if contested issues require several hearings or a trial.
Gather as much financial information about your spouse as possible (paystubs, bank statements, tax returns, mortgage info, retirement and investment account info, etc.), keep a log of significant events that you may need to accurately recount later, and consult an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. Some preparation and putting a reliable plan in place now can save you money and aggravation later.
A complaint is filed, the other party is served with a summons and a copy of the complaint, and the case begins. If an issue requires immediate attention (i.e. child custody/visitation/support or alimony), the parties may go to court for temporary orders. During the next phase, information – usually financial – is exchanged between the parties and there are negotiations. If the case is resolved, an agreement is signed and the divorce finalized. If any issues are unresolved, the case proceeds to trial.
This decision could mean the difference between walking away from a marriage with a favorable arrangement and financial stability or struggling for years to come. Use the internet to research attorneys: their reviews, qualifications, and past client experiences. Ask people you trust for recommendations. And hire an attorney that focuses on divorce practice.
It depends. Generally yes, but in some cases, no. In an uncontested divorce, the parties must file their documents in advance and are then scheduled for an uncontested hearing at which they must appear to finalize the divorce. The exception is that either party may request that the court waive their presence for that proceeding. Typically, this happens when one of the parties lives out of state and attending the hearing would cause a hardship. To make the request, the party must file a motion and affidavit with the court requesting permission to not attend the hearing.