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How to Handle the Stages of Divorce



What can you expect after divorce is filed and the divorce petition is filed on the defendant spouse? There are certain stages to divorce proceedings. The basic phases of divorce are explained below.

Divorce discovery process - This is the phase that allows investigation into the facts regarding financial and others matters surrounding the divorce and each party's circumstances. In a divorce, discovery is commonly used to seek payroll records and tax returns to prove financial standing, determine child support, alimony, and property division.

A request for production seeks records to be provided and interrogatories seek written answers to questions. A request for admissions is similar to interrogatories, but requires only yes or no type answers, rather than open-ended responses to the questions posed. There are also requests for depositions, where oral responses to questions are recorded and turned into a transcript that may possibly be introduced as evidence at trial. A request for inspection may also be used when it's impractical to deliver items through a request for production.

Pretrial or status conference - The pretrial hearing is scheduled to help identify the issues in the case and attempt a divorce settlement without the need for going to trial. The court will often set deadlines for discovery and other matters at the status conference or case management conference. If a motion to dismiss was filed in response to the divorce petition, a ruling on dismissal may be made at this time. Financial statements may be required to be submitted at this time, but final decisions regarding child support or child custody typically will not be made at a pre trial hearing. It is possible that temporary alimony, child visitation, child custody, or child support orders may be discussed and ordered at this time. However, the judge will often give an indication of final orders he or she will rule on the issues in an attempt to encourage the parties to settle before the case goes to trial. Mediation or parenting classes may be ordered. There may be several status conference or pretrial meetings scheduled before the actual trial date is set. The goal is to keep the progress of the case moving along and encourage a settlement without the need to go to trial.

Divorce motions - Divorce motions may be filed at any stage of the divorce process. Commonly filed divorce motions are described below:

  • A restraining order or protective order may be filed with the divorce petition to prevent domestic violence, harassment, or dissipation of assets, such as draining a joint back account or running up unnecessary charges on a joint credit card.
  • A motion for modification of child support or child custody is also commonly filed after a divorce order for child support or child is entered. Requests for modifications of child support or alimony may be backed up with a financial affidavit.
  • A motion for contempt or show cause order is filed when a party fails to comply with a divorce order. For example, a contempt motion is often filed for overdue child support.
  • Name change motions are usually made when the divorce petition is filed. A restoration of the wife's maiden name is commonly ordered as part of the final divorce decree. However, a name change petition may also be filed after a final divorce decree has been issued.

There are many other types of motions that may be filed. Whatever type of motion you may require, US Legal Forms has the professionally drafted, affordable forms you need.

Final divorce hearing - In most cases, a settlement will be made without the need for a formal trial. If a trial is scheduled, you will likely want legal representation by an attorney. Once the determination is made regarding the issues involved, such as property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc., a final divorce decree will be prepared that incorporates the terms of the divorce and the spouses are no longer considered married under the eyes of the law. The terms of the divorce will remain enforceable in court if either party fails to comply.


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