Once you have made the decision to divorce, your first step is to get sound legal advice. A consultation with the attorney will help you to understand your legal rights and legal options. You may have questions like ‘how do I get my spouse out of my house?’, or ‘how do I get spousal support or child support?’ The attorney can answer these questions and explain the laws that are pertinent to your particular situation. These are the steps in a divorce:
1. File the divorce papers. It is very important to fill the paperwork out correctly as any errors in the initial papers will result in a rejection from the court.
2. Serve the spouse. This is another step that must be done correctly as incorrect service can also result in rejection from the court.
3. Wait 30 days. Your spouse has 30 days to respond. If your spouse decides to agree and a Marital Settlement Agreement is prepared, signed and notarized, a court appearance can be avoided. If your spouse decides to not respond and not agree, then a default can be filed after the 30 day period and only the petitioner (the one who serves) will go to court if required. If your spouse responds within the 30 days, you are usually in a contested divorce and both you and your spouse will go to court.
4. If your spouse agrees, then the divorce judgment with the agreement is submitted to the court and the divorce is usually finalized 6 months and 1 day from the date of service. If your spouse does not respond or sign an agreement then default paperwork will be submitted to court and a default hearing may be required. The judge will make a decision. If your spouse responds and you are in a contested divorce, you will need to request a court date and the attorney may undertake discovery. A trial brief and other legal documents will be submitted to the court before the trial. The case will then be decided by the judge. You may be in the trial with attorneys or without, however it is often better to have an attorney in court especially if your spouse has an attorney. Your divorce should eventually be finalized but the time period will vary and could take years.
Most people want to know the cost of the divorce. Although the average cost of a divorce in United States is $15,000, there are alternatives. People often jump to the cheapest option namely a document service, a paralegal or an online divorce. These may be the least expensive alternatives, but they are usually not the best. Often these alternatives make costly mistakes in the paperwork or in the filing process, that force a rejection from the court and delay the finalization of your divorce. These companies cannot give you legal advice and so cannot advise you as to your best options. Further, they cannot and do not ensure that your divorce will be finalized. Most attorneys offer full representation for divorce which means that they charge hefty retainers and hourly rates. If you wish to save money on your divorce but still want attorney advice and oversight, try Legal Action Workshop. Legal Action Workshop allows you to get the legal advice and oversight you need, but also offers low flat fees.
Call Legal Action Workshop @ 800-HELP-444 (800-435-7444) to discuss, or visit our website for more information: www.LegalActionWorkshopLAW.com .