family lawyer in Eagle County, CO

As a family lawyer can explain, divorces are more common than ever. But do people understand how the legal process works? Here is a short explanation of the six steps involved in a legal divorce.

The Petition

The petition is a legal document put forth by one of the parties asking for the court to break the marriage contract. It is also known as a termination of the marriage. The petitioner gives grounds for the request and asserts they are a resident of the state.

The Orders

The orders are often temporary allowances or restrictions that are in effect until the divorce hearing takes place. Most court orders act upon child support, child custody, and spousal support. The issued orders may also involve bank accounts and marital property.

The Wait

Next, the petition must be legally served on your spouse by a process server. Your spouse then becomes a defendant and must file a response. While the petition was your side of the story, the response gives them the chance to present their allegations and requirements for the divorce.

The Negotiation

When parties can’t agree during the divorce, the court will require them to attend a mediation. The mediator will listen to both sides of outstanding issues such as money, support, or property distribution and make an effort to get the parties to agree. If the issues can be resolved, the divorce can be filed; however, if issues remain unresolved, a divorce trial is scheduled.

The Trial

Sometimes mediation efforts fail, and the parties must turn to the judge to resolve their standing issues. During the trial, the parties will each present their side of the situation and then let the court decide their future. A divorce trial takes all negotiation rights away from the parties and places the final decision into the judge’s hands.

The Judgment

Once the judge decides each outstanding issue, the divorce can proceed, and all assets and debts will be resolved. The petitioner’s attorney then drafts a divorce judgment, sends it to the judge, and a final “order for a divorce decree” or an “order for the dissolution of marriage” will be issued. The final document presents the specifics of the division of all obligations, properties, and finances. The document will also state how the children and support will be handled.

If you are considering divorce, make sure you schedule a conference with a divorce lawyer. You will want to make sure your future is in the hands of a trained professional.