Most divorce clients have never had contact with the legal community or the court system.  They have little understanding regarding the divorce process. Below is a divorce timeline that my clients have found beneficial.  It is a reference sheet that can provide clarity during the divorce process when presented with the question: “What happens next?”

  1. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is a legal document filed with the Court which starts the process.
  2. Once the other party is served with the Petition, they have 20 days in which to file an Answer/Response, which is a legal document filed with the Court, acknowledging receipt of the Petition.  Their attorney will handle that for them in most cases.  
  3. If you and your spouse are already living separately, we will file Motions(a fancy legal term for a request) with the Court asking for a parenting schedule and child support.  If this is the case, our office will contact you after the Petition is filed to schedule a second appointment for you to come in so we can prepare this paperwork. You will need to bring in your 3 most recent pay stubs and if you have access to your spouse’s income information, bring that too.  We will also need the cost to insure the children if they are covered under a private health insurance policy through your employer. The price breakdown is usually available from your HR department.
  4. If child support is an issue in your case, we will need the date of birth and social security numbers for you, your spouse, and all minor children.
  5. If you are in need of temporary alimony/maintenance, we will file a motion requesting that as well.  In order to file this request we will have you prepare a monthly budget which is in this folder.  
  6. You will be required to assist our office in completing a preliminary disclosure statement which will be provided to you after our office files the Petition for Dissolution or Response. 
  7. In most cases we also conduct “Discovery”.  This involves sending a series of questions to our spouse’s attorney that relate to your financial assets.  We also send a Request for Production of Documents such as tax returns, retirement statements, etc. These are to be answered within 30 days. 
  8. Once we receive the financial information we schedule a time to meet with your spouse and their attorney with the goal of attempting to reach a resolution of your case without having to go to court.  
  9. In higher conflict cases, we utilize the services of a third party mediator.
  10. If all issues are agreed upon,  you will not have to appear in Court, as your divorce can be finalized without having to personally appear before the Judge.