Divorce is a complicated legal process that can feel never-ending. Breaking divorce down into four distinct stages, however, can help you better understand the process, which can help you face it head-on. While your divorce will not be exactly the same as anyone else’s, the four stages of divorce remain the same for everyone.
Stage One: Planning Ahead
Before you rush headlong into the divorce process, it’s important to take the time necessary to ensure you’re making the right decision for you. Rushing into divorce is never a good idea, but if you have taken the time and come to the conclusion that a divorce is the right choice for you, consulting with an experienced Killeen divorce attorney is the next step. Further, if you remain uncertain regarding divorce, an experienced attorney can help you better understand what a divorce is likely to mean for you, which will leave you better prepared to make a well-informed decision overall.
Stage Two: Filing for Divorce and Serving Your Spouse
The next phase of your divorce involves your initial divorce filing, which will include basic information about all the following:
Your shared children
Your marital property
Once your divorce is filed, it will be assigned to a specific judge and will be given a case number, and your spouse will need to be served with copies of these original documents (unless he or she waives the right – and thus the need – to be served). At this point, your divorce process begins in earnest.
Stage Three: Determining Temporary Orders
After filing, you can address temporary orders, which – in essence – set the ground rules for your divorce (while it is pending), including (as applicable):
How you and your soon-to-be-ex will divide your time with your shared children
How child support will be addressed
Who will remain in the family home with your shared children
Who is responsible for paying which bills
Whether spousal maintenance (temporary alimony) is needed
If you and your divorcing spouse cannot hammer out your own temporary terms between yourselves, you can address the matter in a hearing regarding temporary orders.
Stage Four: Mediation and the Possibility of Trial
Those divorce terms that you and your divorcing spouse are able to resolve (with the skilled legal guidance of your respective divorce attorneys) will need no further attention, but any terms that remain unresolved can be addressed at mediation. The vast majority of divorces are settled out of court, which means that most disputes are resolved before proceeding to trial. If there is an issue (or issues), however, that you and your spouse are unable to ultimately iron out, the court will make the necessary determinations for you at trial.