10 Tips To Help Understand the Divorce Process

According to some estimates, roughly 50% of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. If you are considering a divorce, you should be prepared by hiring a good divorce attorney who can help you through the process. A good divorce attorney can help lead you in the right direction and to see all of your options. The following are questions and answers that are common to the divorce process. Remember, every situation is different and each state’s laws are different. It’s always best to consult with a divorce attorney before making any decisions.

•            Why should I hire a divorce attorney?

There are many legalities that can effect the results in a divorce situation, particularly when it comes to child custody and division of property. It’s important to have a good divorce attorney on your side because without an attorney you could make poor decisions or allow your spouse to make them for you. An attorney will protect your rights and help you to see all of the options.

•            Can the same divorce lawyer represent both parties?

For ethical reasons, in an uncontested divorce, the divorce lawyer you choose cannot represent both parties. The divorce lawyer should only represent one or the other party involved. No matter how friendly the two people involved in the divorce seem to be, a lawyer will advise you in regard to your best interests which isn’t necessarily your spouse’s best interests.

•            What are the first steps in the divorce process?

A divorce begins when a divorce attorney prepares a divorce petition and then files the petition with the clerk of the court. Each state is different and therefore divorce cases are filed and heard in the district or family court in the state in which you live. Each case must be prepared according to state-specific legal requirements.


•            Are there pre-requisites to starting the divorce process?

A petition must include allegations and claims concerning the divorcing party. It must also show the residence of each party and the number of children involved. The person filing the petition is the Petitioner while the spouse being served is the Respondent. If both partners file together, it is considered Co-petitioners. Once the divorce attorney prepares the paperwork, the divorce petition is served on the Respondent.

•            What happens after the divorce papers are filed?

As soon as the petition has been served to the Respondent, they must respond within an allotted period of time in answer to the petition. A Respondent can deny or disagree with any claims made in the petition. The Respondent may also file a cross-petition and make their allegations known.

•            After filing, is the rest of the divorce process straightforward?

A lot depends on the complexity of the divorce and whether each party can agree on terms. Often times, when young children are involved or there are debts, assets or property, couples don’t agree. When both parties can’t come to agreeable terms, the divorce may be contested which makes it more complex.

•            What if the Respondent doesn’t contest the divorce?

If the couple comes to terms on most issues, the proceedings will continue uncontested. In that way, the divorce will be less costly and it allows the partners to end their marriage with some dignity intact.

•            What is a Collaborative Divorce?

This is an option that works only for couples that are in total agreement about everything. It is very rare and usually works in very limited circumstances as no litigation is involved. It is fast and inexpensive but total mutual agreement is the absolute prerequisite.

•            Is an uncontested divorce fast?

Yes, an uncontested divorce is much faster than a contested divorce, particularly when both parties are prepared with necessary information and both have agreed on the primary issues. If the intensity of conflict is low, an uncontested divorce will be completed much faster. In an uncontested divorce, both parties must be ready and willing to compromise.

•            Comfort with Your Divorce Lawyer

While all the above issues are important, there is one final question you should ask yourself before hiring a divorce attorneys. Are you comfortable with that lawyer and are you confident in his or her abilities? If the answer is anything other than a resounding “yes,” you should keep looking. Your case is too important to entrust to someone who does not inspire your confidence.


Alpharetta Divorce Attorneys | Divorce Lawyer in Alpharetta GA | Hait & Eichelzer
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