Hundreds of thousands of divorces occur every year in America. The majority of divorces are painful, tedious, and lengthy. Specific laws for divorce vary state by state, however, the process remains relatively similar. Divorces require documents, records, negotiations, and sometimes trial. Generally, divorces start with separation, followed by filing a petition, then notifying the spouse, establishing a temporary arrangement, creating the final arrangement, and perhaps a trial if a settlement cannot be mutually agreed upon. However, the process begins with components of the petition in mind, as an attorney, like a divorce lawyer, can explain.
The petition will include a series of forms and a fee filed with the locality where you and your spouse currently reside. These forms may be overwhelming for some individuals, in which case, divorce attorneys are well-versed in the required documents and will be able to aid in completing them. In the petition, you may be asked to tabulate all shared belongings that will need be to divided between you and your spouse later on in the process. The petition will also require the grounds for the divorce:
Fault vs No-Fault Grounds for Divorce:
You and your partner must establish grounds for the divorce. In the United States, there are either fault or no-fault grounds for the divorce. These grounds establish the reason for the divorce and must be well-founded. In general, a fault divorce requires evidence that the other spouse’s actions justifiably ended the marriage. The actions could include adultery, infertility, mental instability, cruelty, or imprisonment, to name a few. States may have their own unique expectations to qualify for a fault divorce, but those are a few common causes.
For a no-fault divorce, the couple generally is required to sustain a waiting period in a separate environment. For example, in Virginia, a couple is required to live in separate homes for either one year or 6 months given the couple has already completed separation forms and have no children who qualify as minors. No-fault divorces are more common and are generally cheaper. However, a fault divorce can be completed faster because there is no mandatory separation period. Also, a fault divorce may play a role in determining child custody. If a parent is abusive for example, and the divorce uses cruelty as the fault grounds, then sole custody may be awarded to the other parent given the grounds for the divorce.
The divorce procedure involves many steps and terms. If you are considering divorce, it is recommended you hire a divorce attorney. The attorney will be knowledgeable in the documents needed to file the divorce and may be able to assist in negotiating an arrangement that benefits you.