Filing a Petition with the Court
After deciding divorce is the best course of action for everyone involved, the first step to legally end a marriage is filing a petition with the court. Using state-specified forms, one member of the divorcing couple will explain to the court why the marriage is ending and which measures he or she is asking the court to take moving forward. In some cases, temporary orders for child custody and support, spousal support and other factors will come into play. Once the petition is filed, the other spouse will receive a copy of the paperwork.
Submitting a Response
After being served his or her copy of the divorce petition, the spouse who didn't file the petition (the respondent) will have a certain amount of time to respond to the matter. He or she will have an opportunity to either agree to the other spouse's statements and requests or make demands of his or her own by filing a counter-petition. Any disagreements over the filing spouse's Divorce and Child Custody stipulations, requests for support, and proposed divisions of assets and debts should be stated in the counter-petition.
child custody arrangements out the Details
Both parties must come to some form of agreement on child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of assets, and other details of the divorce before proceeding further. In some cases, this requires mediation or even going to trial to have a judge intervene. Many couples are able to forgo the mediation and trial phases of the process. Either way, both spouses will most likely be required to submit financial affidavits as well as proof of income, savings accounts, debts, and other matters.
Order of Dissolution
This is the final step of the process. After both parties have come to agreements on all the finer points of the divorce, including division of assets and debts, financial support, child custody and visitation, the final paperwork will be submitted to the court for approval. Once approved, the court will issue an order of dissolution, and the divorce will be considered finalized.
Again, these are general, universal phases in the divorce process. Not all work out quite the same way, and additional steps may be required depending on your unique circumstances. Don't hesitate to reach out to a legal professional for assistance and representation throughout the process.