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Steps For When Divorce or Separation Begins: Part Two

Jun 22, 2008
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and do not give legal advice. Anything in this article is for informational purposes only.

Family law is different from state to state, but there are enough similarities that the information contained here will apply.

STEP 3: LAWYER-UP

You've been served and summoned to answer the petition or complaint filed for divorce. It's not a bad time to think about consulting or retaining an attorney at this point. You shouldn't put this off until the last minute. Remember you only have a certain amount of time to respond and now the clock is ticking.

In this day-in-age, I believe everyone knows someone who has been divorced and probably many know several. Ask you friends, family or fellow workers who they used. Call around to any attorneys you know personally and ask for referrals. Organize your questions and any pertinent information that you want the attorney to know, and write it down to take to your meeting.

If after meeting with your attorney you aren't comfortable with his approach or just don't like his tie, look for another. Too many people relate that their attorney was or did a bad job in your representation. Grow up! It's your fault if you keep someone on the payroll that you feel isn't working in your best interests.

STEP 4: NO MONEY

What happens when one spouse works and the other doesn't? A word of warning. The one not working should be sure it was not because they were just lazy. The courts frown on those that are able bodied and decide not to produce income. The unemployed spouse can file a motion for an advance reward to pay attorneys fees.

This is to keep things as even as possible and to prevent the unemployed spouse being taken advantage of legally by a rich or well-off spouse. You'll have to attend a temporary hearing. Sometimes these temporary hearings are useful to request temporary custody, temporary child support, use of certain properties, spousal support (alimony), insurance coverage, visitation rights, etc.

STEP 5: TIME TO REFLECT

Once you reach this point, the legal system halts everything. This is called a "waiting period". It varies from state to state before the divorce becomes final. This period gives both spouses time to adjust to new living arrangements, perhaps new surroundings, new feelings and situations.

The court wants to make sure that both parties are sure about their decisions before the final divorce decree is signed and all go their separate ways. Here's your last chance: Do you want to save this marriage? Can this marriage be saved? Can you work out everything to both parties satisfaction and avoid a trial? Is mediation the only way to work out differences? Are the children being adequately provided for? There have been many questions, of which many have already been answered, but the court still gives both people time to think things over.

You'll work with your attorney to take the next appropriate steps based upon the answers and decisions made.
About the Author
Gerald Costa was a family man with 3 children that went through the divorce process. He is primarily self taught and strives to impart the knowledge he gained through his own divorce. Find out more Family Law, Child Custody and Custody Battle information at http://www.familylawsecrets.com
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