What Steps Do You Follow In A Contested Divorce?
Divorce might be one of the most complicated things you will deal with in your lifetime. That said, even though the technical and logical part of the process is easy to resolve with the right legal help, processing emotions often complicates everything. As such, it is advisable to file for a contested divorce if you cannot solve certain issues. A trusted and qualified divorce lawyer can guide you during the process. These are the steps you should follow.
Filing the Petition
You should only file for a contested divorce if you disagree with your spouse on several aspects of the divorce process. For example, you might disagree on child custody, property division, spousal support, and child support. That said, your first step should be to consult a family lawyer before filing the petition to ensure you send out the correct information. Note that some of the details the family law court expects include your name, your spouse's name, your name before marriage, and a statement showing that you meet the state's requirements for the divorce. You should also include your spouse's wishes for child custody, spousal support, and child support. In addition, you might have to pay a fee when filing the petition. Given this, your lawyer will cross-check the details to ensure the court gets accurate information and then serve your spouse.
Answering and Counter Petitions
After serving your spouse, they will get time to answer the allegations. In most cases, your spouse may get up to a month to respond to the petition. If they do not contest, you can move on to get a default divorce. On the other hand, if they answer and have different demands, you should also make your counter-petition and answer separately. More importantly, a family lawyer can help you through these processes to help you avoid mistakes.
Making Financial Disclosures
Money is a crucial component of the divorce process. As such, the courts will require that you make financial disclosures to help them determine property division. The information needed includes bank statements, tax statements, pay stubs, credit card bills, and business financial statements. At this stage, ask the family lawyer to help you present all this information and protect your best interests. With this information, the court starts the divorce discovery process. Note that they may take weeks or months to deliberate, but eventually, you will get a settlement.
Speak to a divorce attorney immediately after you start thinking about separation. They can help you make the decisions that will protect your best interests right from the start of the process and minimize unnecessary conflict. For more information, contact a divorce attorney near you.