What to Know Before Filing for a Divorce from Your Spouse

divorce papers

Chaos breaks loose when a marriage ends. The emotional upheaval caused by a divorce can lead people to take some unsound decisions legally. There arise problems that haunt both spouses and children, such as adjusting to new arrangements, parenting schedules, issues relating to money and property, and custody of children. To face the legal system, especially that of the US, can be a daunting task. So, it is of utmost importance to improve some knowledge about divorce laws. To increase your basic understanding of the US’s divorce laws and processes, the following points must be considered.

Settling the matter

The legal procedures to file divorce are complicated. Messick Law LLC is a place to look out for that can ease your burden. The laws that one has to deal with are property laws, tax laws, etc. It is advisable that with mutual consent, you decide how the property will be divided. Also, have a clear settlement about which partner will pay the alimony or spousal support, how much will the alimony be, and for how long it needs to be paid must be decided. Having a divorce lawyer figure out the details will help save you time, effort, and stress.

Custody of the children

This is one of the most important matters as it has an emotional aspect attached to it. Which partner will pay for the child support? Who will take custody of the kids? What will be the visiting rights of the other parent? Must be decided and mutually agreed upon. As per the federal directive, each state in the US has a different set of guidelines for the minimum amount of child support to be paid when parents take a divorce. You can either let the matter settle as per the court’s directive or mutually decide between yourself regarding child care post-divorce.

The divorce procedure

Firstly, a document called a divorce petition or a complaint is filed in the court, depending upon the state you live in. In some states, it is known as a divorce, and in others, it is known as the dissolution of marriage.

The spouse is served with a copy of the complaint by the sheriff’s office or the process server. The spouse is given a specific number of days to respond to the complaint. If there is an agreement between the spouses, then there is no necessity of sending a complaint. A spouse may or may not file a response. How the case proceeds in the future depends upon how the partner responds. Some other documents, such as financial statements or other documents or evidence related to the reason for filing the divorce, may also have to be filed.

Cost of getting a divorce

A divorce proceeding consists of certain fixed and variable costs. The fixed costs include the filing fees paid in the court and the fees paid to serve legal papers to the spouse. Depending upon the states, these prices vary.

Legal representation by an attorney, costs incurred in the preparation of documents come under variable costs. Attorney fees depend upon the complexity of the case. Extra costs can pile up if the court orders mediation of disputed issues or hiring a financial analyst to resolve complex property issues.

marriage contract

Types of divorce

No-fault divorce

A no-fault divorce is one where no official justification for divorce is required.

Uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce is one where both the parties agree to the terms and conditions of the settlement of all the issues.

Collaborative divorce

A collaborative divorce is an alternative form similar to mediation. Both the parties hire a lawyer. The collaborative lawyers attempt to reach a marital settlement agreement. The lawyers are prohibited from representing a party in court if the settlement is not reached.

Duration of divorce proceedings

The duration of the divorce depends upon several factors. It also varies according to the state in which the proceedings are carried out. A separation time of none to three years is required before filing for a divorce, depending upon the state. Some states also require a waiting period of zero to ninety days between filing for a divorce and scheduling a court hearing.

Some states may also require marriage counseling sessions, parent education class to know the effects of divorce on children, and mediation of disputes. Apart from these, other factors that can add up divorce duration include the time taken to serve the notice to the spouse, pending cases in court, etc.


Having reasonable and realistic expectations is the key to fasten the process of getting a divorce. While getting a divorce, it’s always advisable to go with your instincts rather than with the advice and suggestions of other people who have been through one. Every case is different, and one must rely on what they feel is right and the attorney’s advice.

The points mentioned above can help one increase their understanding of divorce proceedings and streamline the process of getting a divorce.

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