As you prepare for divorce, you may have a lot of questions about where to start. There are several steps you must take to initiate marriage dissolution proceedings. An attorney from our firm can assist with starting the Marietta divorce process and help eliminate some of the uncertainty you might have as you begin moving forward with your life.
While you and your spouse may have talked about divorcing for some time, the legal process does not begin until one of you actually files for divorce. The initial divorce pleading, known as a “Petition for Marriage Dissolution,” includes the grounds for divorce as well as what type of relief the filing-spouse is seeking from the court.
After receiving a copy of the initial divorce petition, the non-filing spouse must file a response stating which terms they agree or disagree with. They may also request their own relief in their response.
Relief in a divorce proceeding refers to the legal remedies a court may award, such as spousal support, child custody, child support, and attorneys’ fees. After you initiate the divorce process, there may be a need for temporary relief regarding who will reside in the marital home, what the parenting schedule will be for your children, and how the bills will be paid during the pendency of your case.
The court may schedule a hearing to deliberate on these issues, and you and your spouse may retain separate legal representation to protect your individual interests. It can be very beneficial to have a knowledgeable divorce attorney to represent you during the process of your marriage dissolution.
In Marietta, you and your ex may exchange information regarding your children, finances, and marital property. This exchange is known as the discovery process, and it helps all involved parties determine the best custody schedule for your kids, a fair division of your property, and the appropriate amount of spousal and child support if applicable.
This exchange of information can be done informally between you and your spouse if you both agree, or formally through the court system if you believe that your ex will not voluntarily provide all the requested information. The goal of discovery is to make sure all the cards are on the table and that every party has sufficient information to make reasonable and informed decisions throughout the local divorce process.
A judge may order you and your spouse to participate in alternative dispute resolution before your case can proceed to trial. Attending mediation gives you and your spouse an opportunity to collaborate on how to resolve your marital issues. The alternative is going to court and having a judge make the final decision for you. A neutral third-party will serve as a mediator and facilitate discussions between you and your ex in an effort to reach an amicable agreement to be incorporated into a final divorce decree.
If you and your ex cannot reach an agreement during mediation, your case will proceed to court. At trial, you can provide testimony and other evidence to help the court understand your situation and enter a final court order, known as a “Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce.” This order sets out all the terms of your divorce, including the disposition of your property, financial support for you and your children, custody, and any other issues you and your spouse may have raised in the initial complaint and answer.
With all the room for error in the Marietta divorce process, it can be helpful to know the steps you must take to dissolve your marriage. An attorney from our firm can assist you in filing your divorce petition and finalizing a resolution that meets your family’s needs. Call our intake team to learn more.