How do I get a Divorce?
If you are thinking about Divorce, you must first consider all the potential issues that will have an impact on your Divorce Proceeding:
(1) Child Custody: Once you are divorced, where and with whom will the child(ren) reside?
(2) Child Visitation: How often will the non-residential parent see the children?
(3) Distribution of Marital Assets: How will marital property or the marital home be distributed?
(4) Maintenance: Are you seeking maintenance from your spouse or will you be required to pay maintenance?
(5) Retirement Accounts: Are you seeking a percentage of your Spouse's retirement account or will you be required to pay a percentage of your retirement account to your spouse?
There may or may not be clear answers to the preliminary issues mentioned above; in your case. If some or all of the preliminary issues mentioned above apply to you, you should consult a Divorce Lawyer who can explain what your options are and can help guide you through this complex legal process.
The initial document that would need to be filed is called the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Once this Petition is filed, you will then need to serve a Summons to appear in Court, and a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on your spouse. There is no advantage in a Divorce proceeding as to "Who files first." It makes no difference if you are the Petitioner or the Respondent in a Divorce proceeding.
After you or your spouse has been served, you will be engaging in the "Discovery" phase of your Divorce. You will need to exchange Financial Records, Pay Stubs, Records of Retirement Accounts/Stocks,Records of Real Property and any other documents that are reasonably requested by either party.
The reason for this exchange of Financial and other Property documents, is because you cannot begin to distribute marital property unless you first determine what marital property you and your spouse have.
During your Divorce Proceeding, either party may file various motions with the Court, seeking temporary relief. These motions filed by either party can be addressed by agreement or by hearing in which the Judge will make a ruling on the Motion presented to the Court.
Depending on whether your Divorce is Uncontested or Contested, a determination of the distribution of Marital Property will eventually be made, either by Agreement or by the Court.
In addition, Child Custody and Child Visitation issues will also eventually be determined, either by agreement or by the Court.
Once all the issues have been decided, either by agreement or by Trial, the Court will then enter an Order of Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.
Finally, the Court will then issue a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage.
Please keep in mind, this is a very brief "Road Map" of a Divorce from beginning to end. Your matter may be much simpler or more complicated, but this brief overview should give you some insight as to what you can expect.
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