Battle it out in court for years, enrich some lawyers and come out bankrupt and homeless
Contested Divorce Procedure: How The System Works In Ten Painful Expensive Steps
There are ten very expensive, time consuming painful steps in a court contested divorce, all of which involve a humiliating loss of privacy at every step.
Prepare Your Application For Divorce Including A Financial Statement
Your application for divorce outlines what you want the court to give you, and why you should get it.
Usually this includes requests for child custody, child support, spousal support and a property division.
You will need to prepare a financial statement that details all aspects of your income, expenses, assets and debts. Once filed in court, that disclosure is available to the public.
You have no privacy whatsoever from this point forward.
File Your Application In Court, Then Serve The Application And Financial Statement On Your Spouse
After you file your divorce application with the court, (it will be stamped and a file number assigned) you must serve a copy of your application and financial statement on your spouse.
Normally you should hire a process server to serve (give) the divorce papers on your spouse or her lawyer. The process server will give you a sworn affidavit of service once the documents have been served.
You should file the affidavit of service with the court so there is proof that your spouse was notified and when she was served.
Your Spouse Must Serve And File An Answer And Financial Statement Within 30 Days
The answer and financial statement will be served on you, and filed with the court along with an affidavit of service. The answer will include the issues your spouse agrees with and the disputed issues as well as any additional claims or issues your spouse raises.
You Serve And File A Reply Within 10 Days
You have the optional opportunity to reply to any disputed or new issues raised in your spouse's answer
A Case Conference Is Held
At a case conference, you will attempt to resolve issues like disclosure, questioning, trial scheduling, and possible appointment of the Children's Lawyer.
Discovery is a process which is designed to get to the facts and verifying the claims and issues raised in the case. It is intended to disclose all the information needed to prove or disprove the other side's case. It can be complex and lengthy. It includes exchanging financial documents with your spouse, such as income tax returns and bank statements. It includes formal examinations, which is questioning your spouse under oath about the details of their case. A transcript and exhibits will be produced for use at the trial. Custody issues may be assessed
Motions can be brought at any time before the trial. Usually they ask a judge to resolve any issues that can't wait, or disputes over procedures or requested documents, or child support is required now before trial, a motion can be brought before a judge for a (temporary) interim order which may be cancelled, changed or cast in stone when the matter finally gets to trial.
This is a semi formal hearing before a judge to resolve your case so it need not go to trial. The judge will hear and review the case and give an opinion how he would probably rule if a trial were held. Ignoring this opinion is foolhardy.
If you and your spouse do not resolve your case, then a judge will do it for you at a trial. Neither party will be happy with the result and the costs will be astronomical.
Witnesses will be called, documents filed as exhibits, and tedious legal arguments made. The judge will eventually issue a decision and ruling which you must obey whether you like it or not.
This May Not Be The End. If Your Spouse Is Vindictive, Vengeful And Determined, She Can Drag You Back And Forth Into Courts For Years To Come.