New York, NY- If you are married and have decided to divorce your spouse you may not understand what the process is. Although each state has different laws in regards to separation, child custody, support and division of marital property the steps involved in divorce are similar.
The first thing a couple must do is legally separate. Most states recognize that a separation begins when one spouse leaves the family home. A legal separation protects the obligations and responsibilities of both spouses until the courts declare say they are divorced.
In states that don’t have legal separations, a divorce attorney can petition the courts for a temporary separation agreement to determine child custody, support and any other obligations.
To start the divorce process, a spouse must file “Original Petition for Divorce” with a court clerk. On this document the individual will have to state their reason for seeking a divorce, what amount they are seeking in settlement along with their requests for child custody and support.
The original petition will then be legally served; the recipient will then have thirty days to respond. During this stage the recipient can request temporary orders pertaining to alimony or child custody. Temporary orders dictate the steps and actions that need to be taken before the final divorce judgment.
After this stage, a divorce lawyer will then begin to work on their client’s case by gathering evidence, talking to witnesses and looking into the couple’s finances.
The divorcing couple will then be required to participate in mediations where any contentions over child custody, support payments and asset division can be worked out. Many couples can settle the important issues in mediation, but if they are unsuccessful their case will move to court where a judge will decide the final divorce settlement.