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Understanding the Divorce Process

No two divorces are exactly alike. Every breakup has its own unique legal, financial, and/or parenting issues, which require their own resolution strategies. Here’s a basic primer of how the divorce process works in the United States. Speak to a lawyer at Frank Family Law Practice in Altamonte Springs to answer any questions you may have.

Temporary Orders and Filing Divorce Papers

A temporary order/agreement establishes quick decisions about the children, property, bank accounts, support, and other key issues during the separation period. To obtain this order, you must establish that one spouse needs the support and that the other spouse is able to pay it – which may require a Financial Affidavit or Statement detailing both spouses’ living expenses and incomes. You should hire a divorce lawyer and/or mediator such as Frank Family Law Practice in Orlando as soon as possible. You’ll set your temporary order/agreement in a brief, a relatively informal hearing before a judge, so prepare a complete list of what you want to request.

Filing the Petition

Next, you or your spouse will file a petition, application, or complaint about divorce with your local family court. The person who files serves a summons to the other spouse, stating that they want a divorce and what they are seeking in terms of property, child custody, spousal and child support, etc. The other spouse must answer the summons and, if they wish, can make their own claim. A professional at Frank Family Law in Winter Park can help you with this part of the process.

Collecting Information and Discovery

You must gather all the relevant information for your lawyer and/or financial advisor. A licensed professional such as Frank Family Law in Altamonte Springs can help you with a list of all the information you will need for the divorce process. Unless you create a separation agreement, your divorce lawyer will use this as a starting point for the discovery process. Your lawyer needs as much specific information about marriage as possible in order to work out the financial and children’s issues fairly.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

In a contested divorce, a judge will decide the outcome if you can’t come to an agreement on your own. In an uncontested divorce, both of you agree on how to divide your assets and debts, who gets custody and pays child support, and whether one spouse needs to pay spousal support to the other. Obviously, an uncontested divorce will be faster and simpler than a contested one.

Litigation or Negotiation?

You and your spouse must decide how to resolve your divorce. Will you fight it out through adversarial litigation, or can you set aside personal feelings long enough to negotiate outside of court? Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods – such as arbitration, mediation, and Collaborative Divorce – have become popular means of resolving divorce-related issues in a cooperative environment. Some states and provinces have made mediation compulsory in the divorce process.

The Divorce Judgment

After all the issues have been decided, a court clerk reviews all the papers and sends them to the judge. When the judge signs a document that officially ends the marriage, you are legally divorced. For more information or if you have any questions, give Frank Family Law Practice in Winter Park a call today.