The ‘D’ Word: What To Expect When You File For Divorce


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Leaving all the upheaval and emotions that you will no doubt be experiencing once you decide to divorce, let’s instead focus on what to expect when you file for divorce.

The First Steps

There will be heartbreak, anger, tears and pressure when it comes to ending your marriage. And sorting out the emotional from the financial is a tricky time when you’re already feeling broken. But it’s crucial to take a step back and start planning for your new future. In order to file for divorce, you first have to meet your state’s requirements. These can differ from state to state in the United States so be sure to check what the requirements are. In most states, you will have had to be a resident for a certain period of time. The only exceptions are Alaska, Washington, and South Dakota. Lots of states will enforce a waiting period before it is possible to file a no-fault divorce.  

Separating Assets

When you start working out who gets what it is most likely time to get legal assistance. Divorce lawyers like Barbara May can offer representation for regular divorce and more complex divorces. Attorneys also offer services for property division and child custody and support. In regards to separating assets, you’ll need to label what is separate and what is marital property. So any property you or your spouse owned before marriage would be considered separate. And the same goes for inheritance money, gifts or anything else set out in a pre-nuptial agreement. Marital property is likely to be anything left over, such as your family home, artwork, cars and more. This is then subject to division in divorce proceedings. In some states, assets are split 50-50, but in other, legal negotiation will take place over what is a fair and equitable split. Therefore one of the most critical forms you fill out will be what is known as a financial affidavit. This states all the financial factors that come into the marriage. For example, you will state what your income, your expenses, your assets and your debt. This is an essential document that will be very relevant in the final divorce settlement. Therefore it is fundamental that you go through all of your financial paperwork. You need to note all utility bills, kids expenses and so forth from during the marriage. The focus is usually on the last three to five years. An attorney can help you with these financial papers if you are feeling a little overwhelmed.


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In The Courtroom

In the courtroom you will sit next to your attorney and your spouse will sit next to theirs. You will be sworn in only when you need to talk. The judge and attorneys may also spend time discussing the case in the chambers in private. Depending on your case, it could be that you have more than one hearing. After court, you will be debriefed by your attorney on what just happened because it can be confusing.    

Grounds For Divorce

There are two grounds for divorce. Fault and No-fault. No-fault includes irreconcilable differences, divorce after a period of separation and incompatibility. And this ground means that neither party is held responsible for the divorce. Fault includes adultery, abuse, criminal conviction and mental illness among others. Again it depends on what state you live in. If you are splitting amicably, a no-fault divorce is the easiest and most painless way to get through this difficult time.

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