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First Steps in Filing for Divorce
Whether you are considering or have decided about filing for divorce, you need to figure
out what is the healthiest option for you and your family.
Between working through your emotions, talking about it with your family, planning
your future and meeting legal requirements, the divorce process can become complicated.
Find a Local Divorce Lawyer
Before getting too far in the divorce process, the first thing you may want to do is connect
with a local divorce lawyer.
You may have considered do-it-yourself divorce to save money on attorney fees and
courtroom costs, but without the help of a divorce attorney familiar with divorce law, you
may be missing opportunities to protect your rights, family and property.
Local divorce lawyers are familiar with divorce requirements and state divorce laws, so
you can learn how the cost, length or terms of your divorce could be affected. Make sure
you aren’t caught off guard when it comes to filing paper work or meeting deadlines.
You may be considering holding out because you don’t think you can afford the legal
fees associated with divorce. Depending on laws and your circumstances, divorce
lawyers’ fees can vary. You can find out what you are expected to pay by talking to a
It may also be possible for you to try some alternative dispute resolution options to save
time and money.
Alternative dispute resolution may be a possibility. If you and your spouse can work
together long enough to figure out a divorce settlement, you may want to consider
divorce mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce.
In alternative dispute resolution, each spouse works with his or her divorce lawyer to
negotiate the terms of the divorce. You and your spouse will determine how to settle
issues like alimony, property distribution, child custody, visitation and child support.
Once a settlement is agreed upon, it will be submitted to the divorce court to be approved
as part of the final divorce decree.
If you and your spouse aren’t able to reach an agreement in alternative dispute resolution
tactic, the divorce court will schedule a trial to hear the divorce. Each spouse will present
his or her side, and the court will rule in a final decree.
Filing the Divorce Petition
To start the divorce process, you will need to prepare and file your divorce petition. The
divorce petition is a formal complaint that alleges particular grounds necessary for filing
and granting a divorce.
A local divorce lawyer can help you prepare the petition and make sure you properly
define your requests regarding child custody, support, property division, alimony and
Before you file for divorce, make sure you have met state divorce requirements, such as
the residency requirement and any divorce waiting periods.
Along with a divorce petition, there may be temporary orders that a divorce attorney may
advise you to file too. Learn how these temporary orders can help protect you during the
divorce process by connecting with a local divorce lawyer today.
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