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19 Jul 16

How do I start a divorce case?

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Before starting any divorce process, it is advisable to make sure that you really want a divorce. If possible, you should consult a counselor to save your marriage. Once you start a divorce process, it is difficult to go back. Divorce is dependent on your relationship with your better half and the existing state laws in which you live. Some states may allow for legal separation while others may consider marriage as a legal entity until the court rules otherwise.

If you would like to institute divorce proceedings, the first step is to talk to your spouse. It is prudent to ask whether she or he is ready for the divorce. If you come to a common ground regarding the divorce and are willing to work together to conclude the process in an amicable manner, you should start discussing about pertinent issues. These issues include division of finances, assets and property, child support, how to tell the children about the divorce, visitation and spousal support. All the finances, assets and properties must be supported by documents. To this end, you should make sure that you have the right paperwork. Tax statements as well as records of your assets and liabilities are crucial in the divorce process.

If the you and your spouse are willing to work together towards completing the divorce process, it is less costly and time-consuming. However, in circumstances where the partners may not be willing to work together, one spouse may file a complaint for divorce. This legal document is a divorce or dissolution petition by a spouse seeking a divorce. Filling and serving of the complaint for divorce by a petitioner marks the beginning of the divorce process. Each state has stern requirements on serving legal documents. It is important that the divorce petition be served in the right manner for the divorce to proceed in a valid manner.

The complaint for divorce or divorce/dissolution petition varies from state to state. However, the contents of the petition are largely similar. It contains the name and addresses of the spouses, spouse’s children, date and place of marriage and acknowledgement that petitioner and spouse have lived in a given state or county for a specified period before filing the petition. In addition, the petition encompasses the grounds for divorce and declaration of how the petitioner would like to deal with finances, visitation, child custody, property division and other related matters.

While the process of divorce is ongoing, courts may put temporary orders in order for certain financial and family issues to be ferreted out. The temporary orders may be issued to allow for payment of spousal and child support, child visitation for non-custodial spouse and payment of different bills. Additionally, the orders may be issued pertaining to the spouse to have primary custody of the children and the spouse to live in the couple’s primary residence.

If the divorce petition is filed based on adultery or extreme cruelty by your spouse, there is no waiting period. You are free to file a complaint for divorce. In case of desertion by your spouse, you may file a complaint for divorce after a year. If you and your spouse are willing to seek divorce without any evidence of wrongdoing and fault, then as a couple, you may have an 18-month separation. This way, your complaint for divorce should state that as a couple, you have lived in various places for at least 18 consecutive months. However, living in separate rooms within the same house does not amount to legal separation because of the likelihood of reconciliation.

It is highly recommended that you seek the services of a divorce attorney, as he or she will guide you and represent you in courts. In addition, attorneys have expansive experience in divorce proceedings. This way, they will guarantee you the best possible outcome.

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