A divorce is an emotionally charged and very personal proceeding. Not only is a marriage ending, but there are all the other issues that come along with it. Deciding custody and parent-time. Property division. Debt allocation. Re-financing or selling the home. Closing bank accounts and opening new ones. Figuring out how to separate deeply intermingled lives into separate ones.

Sometimes, divorces can be amicable, with both parties on board with how their divorce should be resolved. In those cases, all that’s generally left is tying up some loose ends (for example, completing the mandatory divorce education and orientation courses, if custody and parent-time are involved) and drafting all the necessary documents. We can make the drafting process as easy and inexpensive for you as possible.

Usually, however, the parties are initially unable to agree on how to resolve their divorce and must go through the process. The process generally goes something like this:

  • Party 1 files a petition for divorce with the Court and the divorce proceedings begin.
  • The petition for divorce and a summons are served on Party 2. Party 2 has 21 days from being served to file an answer to the petition for divorce and, if Party 2 chooses, file a counterpetition for divorce.
  • If Party 2 files a counterpetition for divorce, Party 1 has 21 days to answer the counterpetition.
  • In the meantime, both parties are gathering up financial documentation that must be exchanges (for example, the law requires exchange of 12 months of pay stubs, 3 months of financial statements, loan documents, real property documents, tax returns, etc.). Once the financial information is exchanged and other necessary discovery is done (for example, obtaining an appraisal of the marital home), it’s generally time to attend mediation.
  • Mediation is generally a required part of the divorce process. And, in our extensive experience, mediation is where most divorce cases are resolved. For mediation, the parties hire a professional mediator and generally split the mediator’s hourly fee. Most often, the parties are in separate rooms (with their attorneys) and the mediator bounces back and forth between the rooms in an attempt to craft a resolution. The parties can be creative in reaching a resolution. If the parties reach an agreement, a binding stipulation for divorce will be drafted and signed. At that point, generally all that’s left to do is draft the final documents for the Court’s review and signature.
  • If, however, mediation fails, then the next step is usually to ask the judge to set a date for trial so that the judge can decide how the divorce will be resolved.

Every divorce is different in nature and some will not mirror the process outlined above. For example, in some divorces involving children, we’ll need to seek temporary orders from the Court that govern what custody and parent-time will look like while the divorce is being worked through. In other divorces involving heated or complicated custody disputes, a custody evaluation will need to be performed and/or a guardian ad litem (an attorney for the children) for the children appointed. In other cases, one party may be self-employed and the services of an accountant may be required to review and analyze that party’s business records for purposes of determining that party’s gross monthly income for child support purposes. Regardless of the nature of your divorce, we can help you through it.

Let’s talk about your divorce. We can talk about property division and how the judge may allocate marital debt. We can assess claims for alimony. We can talk about custody and parent-time, and the factors the judge usually considers in making decisions on those issues (for example, who has been the child’s primary caregiver, what the parties’ work schedules look like, the distance between the parties’ residences, etc.). We can give you an idea of how long the divorce process may take, depending on your case. We can answer your questions and we can set a strategy together aimed at reaching the best possible outcome for your case.

Whatever your issue, we can help.

  • We offer a $75, 30-minute consultation about your situation
  • We’re easy to reach and will quickly respond to calls and emails
  • We are typically available evenings and weekends to address urgent or unexpected issues
Cameron Beech

Cameron Beech, Partner
About Cameron

Jessica Reed, Partner

Jessica Reed, Attorney
About Jessica

Let’s talk about your situation and create a plan that fits your individual circumstances and the option that best fits your needs.