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Divorce Law Needs Expert Knowledge

Aug 17, 2007
Divorce law can be a convoluted process for everyone involved, especially if the couple seeking a divorce was married for an extensive period of time. Each state and country has their own system and laws in place for divorce proceedings, and the individuals involved have to be aware of every law before reaching an agreement. Finding a lawyer is just the first step in a lengthy and sometimes harrowing experience.

Divorce law involves the process of dissolving a marriage between two people who are are unable live together anymore. Laws will differ depending on the state or country you live in, so it is important to understand your legal limitations before taking any action. After contacting your lawyer, the next step in divorce proceedings is a legal separation.

Because some states don't recognize this, you may not have the choice available to you. If separation is allowed, one of the spouses is expected to leave the home. Then the courts will issue a separation agreement which will protect all parties involved, including children, ensuring that everyone fulfills their legal responsibilities.

After a separation, divorce law proceeds to the filing of a petition to the county clerk. This is usually called the "Original Petition for Divorce." The party filing for a divorce, called the "petitioner," must state in the letter their reasons for filing. This letter will also include the names of both parties involved in the proceedings as well as any children involved.

The petition is then given to the "respondent," or the other party involved. They have thirty days to seek their own attorney and give their consent to the petition. When children are involved in a divorce settlement, the petition must be recognized by both parties before either one is allowed to request legal orders to assist with child support guidelines.

Divorce law allows the collection of information on both spouses involved. This is called "discovery," and normally consists of five steps, depending on the state where the case is handled. The first is a disclosure, where both the petitioner and the respondent list what they feel is rightfully theirs. This includes property, child custody rights, and personal assets.

The disclosures are handed out must be evaluated within thirty days. Interrogatories are a list of questions drafted by attorneys to be asked to both parties. These are handed out and must also be answered within thirty days. Some states have limitations on the amount of questions asked by attorneys. Admissions of facts are another part of the "discovery" process.

Either both or one spouse will direct claims to the other party which must be denied or accepted within the allotted time, usually thirty days. Income and personal properties are collected in the next phase, which is referred to as a request for production. The spouse that is served with a request must comply within thirty days.

Because this process involves personal information, it is usually here that divorce proceedings slow down considerably. Finally, depositions are needed to fulfill the "discovery" mechanism. Depositions are sworn testimonies of the opposing party and they usually involve witnesses and are often used in court during the divorce proceedings.

Once all the information is gathered, a mediation or trial is scheduled. Mediations are when both spouses meet with their attorneys to discuss the divorce and attempt to reach a settlement without going to court.
If a settlement can not be arranged during this time, then a trial is set so both parties can argue their case in front of a judge.

Once the judge makes his or her decision, the papers are signed and a divorce is finalized. As with any court proceeding, appeals can be made if one of the parties involved feels the judges ruling was unjust.

When going through the rigors of a divorce settlement, it becomes necessary to fully understand your state's divorce law. This is especially true when child custody and visitation rights are at stake.

Finding a lawyer you can rely on will help guide you through the legal proceedings and hopefully assist with expediting the entire process. Then the chances of you having a lengthy proceeding that matches many of the celebrity divorces you see in the news decreases.
About the Author
Mike Selvon owns a number of niche portal. Please visit our divorce portal for more great tips on divorce law matters. While you are there don't forget to claim your free gift.
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