Memphis Divorce Timelinehamilton-law-firm-memphis-criminal-defense-divorce-timeline

Divorces are difficult. Often, many issues arise which must be resolved before the legal split is finalized. Both sides deserve their fair share, money-wise, but they might have differing perceptions about legal claims.

If you choose to get assistance from a legal provider—and you should—you should map out your divorce’s process. Planning helps, and it can minimize difficulties while highlighting opportunities. It’s time to sit down with your family law expert, explain the divorce details and hash out your sought-after compensation. Once you’ve pieced together your representation of events, you can ensure a fair split.

Below, we’re covering the divorce timeline. By outlining the details, we feel we can assist your journey from initial separation to final fiscal split.

First: A Petition is Written

Before any legalities are handled, a lawyer is called. A divorce begins when one spouse has a petition written. A petition, also titled a complaint, is a legal document stating the spouse’s intention of divorce. It similarly covers requested custody, financial settlements and other issues. While a petition isn’t necessarily final, it’ll be heavily considered alongside future settlement considerations.

Second: Filing Dates are Determined

In the divorce realm, filing dates are incredibly important. The petition-filing party and their legal provider must be incredibly proactive about following these dates. Deadlines vary from state to state, and they follow local court guidelines. An assisting legal provider needs to know if a divorce has been filed already. They also need to know who the respondent party is.

Third: The Lawyer Files the Petition

Next, the law provider will file the petition. These legal papers, filed in court, are called “pleadings.” Usually, the petition will outline the entirety of the spouse’s claims. The lawyer filing the petition will similarly cover any recorded complaints dealing with the spouse’s future requests.

Fourth: The Other Spouse is Served

Because one spouse can determine the existence of a petition, the other spouse is entitled to being served the notification. After the lawyer files the petition, the court ensures its timely delivery to the other spouse. The petition, or complaint, will be packaged with a legal summons. This legal summons requires the spouse’s formal response—so as to ensure verification and the first spouse’s right to a law-secured divorce.

Fifth: A Counterclaim May Ensue

Sometimes, the served party files a counterclaim. If a divorce is surrounded by legal tie-ups, or possibly illegal activities, the served party can file against the divorce’s “plaintiff” as a “defendant/counter-plaintiff.” A counterclaim is written similarly to a petition, but it may include additional information disclosing the divorce’s true nature. While a counterclaim may exist, it may not be heeded in a court of law.

Sixth: Information is Shared

Once the “notice of divorce” complaint is verified, both parties must come together to handle any documents, information and financial information. Typically, this deals with the couple’s income and property. On both sides, legal representatives can examine the information. Both the court and the couple can determine a proper way of division. Alimony and child support, too, are covered.

Seventh: Settlement Options are Presented

A couple can elect to resolve any issues through a settlement. If a settlement occurs, pre-agreed standards will be honored. In some states, divorced couples must honor a settlement—or mediation—process. In others, couples can choose whether or not to settle.

If a settlement is agreed upon, it will be presented to a judge during an informal hearing. The judge, then, will ask several factual questions to each party. No settlement is enacted until both parties can assure a complete understanding of the agreement.

 On Uncontested and Contested Divorce  

A divorce can either be uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce is straightforward. During an uncontested divorce, both parties agree upon surrounding issues. They file a settlement, and the court simply validates agreed-upon divisions.

During a contested divorce, however, parties are not in agreement. A contested divorce, often, proceeds for a while before a trial judge handles the case. This avenue is covered below.

Eighth: A Settlement Verdict is Determined

If the case’s judge approves the settlement, they can then create a divorce decree. This decree, legally enforceable, will reflect the couple’s agreed-upon settlement boundaries. If the judge does not approve the settlement, however, the case will go to trial. A trial is similarly engaged if a settlement is rejected from the start.

Nineth: A Trial Occurs

Again, a trial needn’t occur if a settlement is agreed upon and approved by a judge. In the event of a trial, both parties may present their arguments. A judge, then, may decide upon any unresolved issues. Typically, these issues revolve around financial divisions and child custody. Where child custody itself is considered, the judge may determine visitation, child support and spousal support. Property division is handled similarly. Once a decision has been made, the presiding judge will finalize the divorce.

On Property Division  

If personal property is divided, it’s normally divided based upon premarital—or separate—asset and debt worth. Sometimes, it’s difficult to distinguish marital estate assets from individual assets. If a marriage has lasted a long time, the lines blur. A judge can, however, determine assets based upon information provided by the case’s divorce lawyers.

Tenth: Possible Appeal

It’s possible to appeal a judge’s divorce verdict. If an appeal occurs, the case is moved to a higher court. While this is an option, an appeals court rarely overturns a judge’s decision. Settlements normally can’t be appealed if they’re agreed upon by both spouses. Similarly, any case sent to an appeal court will be examined closely—as will the judge’s decision.

Contact an Experienced Memphis Divorce Lawyer

Divorce take a long time to finalize. Contacting our office to reduce the process. It’s important to discuss options with a divorce lawyer beforehand. Even if you’re electing to settle on the divorce, your personal property and custody of children are still at stake. You might be entitled to more than you thought.

At the end of the day, your marriage is deserving of love and care—even if it’s ending. Discuss your options, both with your partner and legal provider. The law is here to help, and your legal divorce providers are incredibly well-trained. Once a divorce has been finalized in a court of law, both parties can be awarded their due fiscal resources to ensure a healthy, easy split. Don’t hesitate. Contact your legal provider today.