The Divorce Process – excerpt from the Divorce Recovery Ladder Workbook
By: Susan Shofer
The Divorce Process takes several months to several years, depending on court schedules, attorney schedules, and the complexities of the divorce involving children, property, and other aspects of the settlement. Although some divorces may drag on for years, the average divorce typically takes about eighteen months from start to finish.
So what is the divorce process and what does it entail? All divorces are not the same and people have a few options when they decide to divorce. The three most common options are mediation, settling out of court, and settling in court. All divorces begin with a filing in the court jurisdiction where the couple lives. Because marriage is a legal civil contract, it must be dissolved in court. The final document will be called Divorce Absolute.
Mediation takes place when two people forgo obtaining attorneys in order to collaborate with the use of a mediator. It typically is the least contentious which is always better for everyone, the couple and the children, involved.
Another divorce process option involves using legal counsel. Both parties acquire attorneys. One of the attorneys will file for the divorce. After the file, there will be interrogatories. The questions can be as few as ten or as many as one hundred. It is a time-intensive process to develop the questions and to answer those received by the “other side.” After the interrogatories are complete, the attorneys will begin the process of settlement. Once a settlement is made that satisfies both parties, a date will be set to be heard in a judge’s chambers or before a judge in a courtroom.
When a couple is so contentious that they are unable to settle their case out of court, the case may be presented before a judge to determine the settlement. Once the judge makes the ruling, there is no turning back.