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Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Personal Rights

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Navigating The Intricacies of the Divorce Process

San francisco family law lawyer

There is one divorce every 36 seconds in America.

While this statistic may seem startling, it is a common and natural occurrence with almost half of first marriages ending in divorce. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the parties involved, the divorce process can either be a peaceful parting of two people or it can become an extensive loss of time and money. Generally, couples without children that haven’t been married for very long are able to avoid the hassle of their counterparts. However, most marriages that end in divorce last for an average of 9 years. Spending nearly a decade sharing your life with someone can make parting ways a an arduous task.

Keep in mind: Navigating divorce law doesn’t have to be done on your own and the help of a family law lawyer is the best way to avoid unfavorable conditions surrounding the dissolution of marriage.

The Divorce Process:

Filing a petition: Whether both parties are on board or one is blindsided by divorce papers, someone is required to file the official petition of divorce. This is where a reason is given for the dissolution of the marriage (i.e. ‘irreconcilable differences’).

Temporary Orders: When it comes to financial support and parental custody, temporary orders should be filed as soon as possible (or at the same time as the petition). They are generally granted within a few days of filing and remain in effect until the court hearing.

Service of Process: The filer of the petition is required to show proof that the other party was served a copy of the documents. Some parties choose to send a process server to their spouses place of employment or home unannounced, which is considered undignified and can lead to unfavorable feelings. A recommended way to do so is to have them given to the spouse’s attorney.

Response: After being served the process, the spouse then has to file a response. This is the time to dispute any statements in the petition. If it is a no-fault divorce, the response should be kept as simple as possible.

Negotiation: If there is a dispute among the spouses in reference to the grounds for divorce or custodial arrangements, negotiation will be necessary. A court may order mediation and an evaluation of the children before moving forward.

Trial: Any issues that can’t be resolved through negotiation will have to go to trial. It is best to avoid going to trial if possible because it will prolong the process and cost more money.

Order of Dissolution: After an agreement on all issues has been reached by both parties, an order of dissolution will be drafted and submitted to the court. The order outlines the custodial arrangements, financial support (if applicable), and other settlements.

While no one hopes to have their marriage end, it’s expected that some people grow apart as they age. The divorce process can be long and complicated but can be made easier with a little education and perseverance.


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