If you live in the US, have separated from your spouse and want a divorce but are unable to agree on child and/or financial matters, you are standing on the edge of a contested divorce and probably drowning in questions about what happens next; here’s a brief summary of what can be an arduously long process.
1. You meet with your attorney
2. Your attorney serves the divorce petition
3. Your soon-to-be ex responds to said petition
4. You document all of your financial affairs and custody issues, sometimes aided by court petitions, also referred to as ‘Discovery’.
5. Hopefully, ‘Settlement’ follows once all information has been gathered; the courts will strongly encourage you to settle out of court, or you may face a lengthy and expensive trial.
6. If not, ‘Trial’ surely follows, often with scathing cross-examinations, witnesses called and more, at the end of which a judge will take everything into account and make a ‘Final Order’
7. however, if things haven’t gone as hoped, both parties have 30 days to file ‘Post-Trial Motions’ if they wish and the other side typically has 30 days in which to respond.
8. This is followed by the ‘Appeal’, an even more lengthy and expensive process, which will by now leave both parties ready to affirm the agreement, at which point, it is finally over.