What Are The Steps of The Divorce Process?
This question came from a client who recently was served documents for a divorce and wanted to know what she could expect.
Filing The Complaint
A divorce begins with someone filing a complaint for divorce with the court. This person becomes the plaintiff to the party. The other party, who is called a defendant, must respond to this complaint within 20 days of receiving the complaint. If the defendant fails to respond to the plaintiff’s complaint, the plaintiff will get everything that was requested in his or her complaint.
The next step after answering the complaint is the discovery process. This is the process where both sides gather information from each other in an attempt to formulate a strategy for their case. This step can last between three months to a year, to two years, depending on the complexity of your case. To expedite this process I always encourage the parties to attempt to settle their issues. A settlement conference may be agreed to by the parties or it can be ordered by the judge. I am a big proponent of a settlement conference as this allows the parties to have more control over their divorce, over their lives, as opposed to having a judge come in and make decisions for that party, or that couple’s future.
Finally, if there is no agreement reached between the parties then the parties have to go to trial. A trial is where evidence is presented to the judge and witnesses are questioned before the judge. In this stage the judge then will make the final decision as to the outcome of the couple’s divorce.
These phases make up the basic components of a divorce proceeding. Obviously each phase is a little more involved, but these are the basic steps of a normal divorce. If you are contemplating divorce, or have recently been served with a complaint for divorce, contact our office to set up a meeting to discuss your situation in detail. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.