Going through a divorce is one of the most painful experiences you will encounter in life. While divorce is something no one wants to go through, the truth is that many people experience this unfortunate reality everyday. Understanding what happens in a divorce, how to file for divorce and what to expect in divorce proceedings can help you traverse this difficult time in your life.
To file for divorce, you need to obtain the appropriate paperwork from that state that you are currently living in; this is called a petition for divorce. Many states have different forms to file if you are filing for divorce jointly or individually. If you are not sure what form you need to fill out, you may want to consult an attorney in your state to help you get started. While you may file for divorce without the assistance of an attorney, if you have a lot of assets and the custody of your children is in question, it is a good idea to seek the assistance of an attorney (see When Dads Need a Divorce Attorney).
Once you have the necessary paperwork filled out, you need to file it with the county court of the county that you currently reside in. Some states have waiting periods and other requirements that must be met in order to file for divorce (see Legal Requirements for Divorce). It is a good idea to make sure that you may file for divorce by contacting a divorce attorney in your state. An experienced divorce attorney may be aware of issues and laws that you are not aware of that could help make your divorce proceed more quickly.
After divorce papers are filed, sometimes temporary orders are given for child custody, spousal support and child support (see What is Alimony (Spousal Support)? and Child Support). If your wife was the primary provider for your family while you were married and now she is gone, the court may order that she continue to help with household expenses and child support while the divorce proceeds.
Another part of divorce is the dividing of assets and property. Be sure to have a list of all of your assets and property including receipts, titles, and anything else that proves ownership readily available as you proceed through your divorce. If you an your wife agree on how things should be divided, the divorce process can be relatively easy and settle out of court. However, if you and your wife disagree on any arrangements, you must go to court and a judge will decide how things should be divided. It is usually a good idea to have an attorney represent you to make you aware of what you are entitled to. It is also important not to sign any documents from your wife’s attorney until you have an attorney look at them for you. You may be signing something that has far greater impact than you realize.
Divorce is never an easy thing to go through and it may be very difficult to make life-impacting decision when you are at the height of emotional stress and fatigue. Allowing a lawyer to work for you may help ease your load and protect you from making rash decisions. For information on divorce proceedings and how to file for divorce, see What Happens in a Divorce? and The Divorce Process.