The Scarsdale Daily Voice

Scarsdale, New York

The Phases of Divorce and Other Important Issues - The Scarsdale Daily Voice

The Phases of Divorce and Other Important Issues

March 15th, 2013

Though divorce may be the best option to end a turbulent and unhappy marriage, this complex process is often stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming, even in the best of circumstances. Depending on the type of settlement spouses want to pursue, a divorce case can last between a couple of weeks to more than a year. A divorce settled amicably, that is uncontested, can be the shortest, easiest, and least expensive; however, many couples find they cannot agree on a number of important issues, including:

  • Division of marital assets and debts
  • Alimony or Spouse support
  • Child custody and child support
  • Child visitation

When a couple cannot reach an agreement on these or other issues, they will likely have to seek a contested divorce. In doing so, they may have to go through the following steps:

  • Meeting with a divorce attorney – Selecting the lawyer who you believe can best represent you, doing interviews with him or her, and providing him or her with all the information (about marital properties and children) necessary for your case
  • Divorce petition served to your spouse – Serving the divorce petition to your spouse (through mail, by a deputy sheriff, or personally) may be done after it has been filed with the court
  • Your spouse responds to the petition – Your spouse is given about 30 days to respond to the petition (a law common to most states). His or her option not to respond will earn you a default judgment of divorce; by responding, your divorce case will go to the nest stages: discovery and settlement
  • Discovery – This is the phase where issues about income, marital assets, and custody are brought into the open, as well as other issues relevant to the case
  • Settlement – Prior to the final court schedule, spouses will be asked by the judge to reach an agreement. The discovery stage continues if agreement is not reached; this is followed by the scheduling of the case for divorce court
  • Trial – The phase for presenting or cross-examining witnesses
  • Post – Trial Motion –30 days is usually allotted for the defendant to file for relief from the judge’s signed final order. Another 30 days is given for the other party to respond to this motion
  • Appeals – This is resorted to only if the post-trial motion has been denied

While every divorce does not go through all or most of these steps, it is possible, depending on a couple’s circumstances and each person’s wishes or needs.


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