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What to (legally) expect from an upcoming divorce

As with any legal action, there is a process to getting a divorce. It isn't as simple as saying "I want a divorce" and then your spouse agrees and, soon after, your life moves on. There are many steps along the way, and each will take its necessary amount of time.

This also isn't to say that every divorce has to be a long, drawn-out process, because it is quite possible to complete an efficient divorce in a relatively small amount of time. Having said all of that, let's talk about the divorce process and what is necessitated from a legal standpoint.

To begin, one of the spouses will write up a petition which says why they want a divorce and how they would settle the divorce. Then, a court acknowledges the petition and summons the other spouse to respond to the petition. The summoned spouse has a certain amount of time to respond. If they don't respond, it is assumed the original petition is acceptable. If they do respond, they get the chance to say how they would like the divorce settled.

You and your spouse will then exchange information and documents to reach a set of terms for your divorce -- or you could also enter mediation to reach a settlement. However you decide to proceed, eventually a divorce agreement will be drawn up, which has to be approved by a court. If it is accepted by a judge, then your divorce will proceed. If it isn't accepted, then your divorce will go to trial.

Source: FindLaw, "A Divorce Timeline," Accessed March 17, 2016

 

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