There are not many things that are as stressful as being faced with a divorce filing. When informed that your spouse filed for divorce, the person you married is now someone that doesn’t want to live under the same roof as you.
This difficult experience calls for a proper support system and an effective divorce counsel who could guide you through the difficult process. Here is a brief guide that gives you the fundamentals on how to protect yourself during this pressing time.
First Steps in Divorce
The first step in a divorce proceeding is to maintain your composure. Know that even if it was your spouse who initiated the process, it does not give them the upper hand. You still have all the opportunity to defend yourself through proper legal representation.
When served with a divorce filing, the first step is to consult expert divorce counsel. A proficient divorce attorney Washington DC who has extensive experience could help you analyze whether you agree with the grounds and terms with which your spouse filed for divorce.
These terms may include but are not limited to:
- Actual grounds for divorce, where you may suggest meditation or legal separation if you want to give your marriage another try.
- Division of marital property, where joint assets that were acquired during your marriage are divided between you and your spouse.
- Child custody, which allocates the time your children can spend with both parents.
- Child support, which decides the amount that either parent could receive from the other depending on the custody agreement.
- Alimony, which is paid by either spouse to support the other after divorce.
Your answer is then provided to the court, and the divorce proceedings continue from there.
If you have children, then make sure to discuss with your spouse how to break the news to them. Make your children your first priority, and ensure to provide with any help they need in coping with the news.
A typical divorce timeline consists of the following steps.
- Your spouse has a petition written and filed through their divorce counsel. They also receive a date for the initial hearing.
- The petition is served to you with the date of the initial hearing, after which you hire a divorce attorney of your own to answer it within 20 days.
- Your divorce attorney provides your answer to the court. A copy is provided to your spouse.
- If the terms are agreed upon, a judge listens to your case along with your spouse. In such cases, the divorce is settled more quickly.
- If the terms are contested, then your case may go to mediation or trial in the court. That is where you will utilize a trusted divorce attorney in Washington DC; so you could have strong representation during legal arguments.
Your Court Date
Your initial court date is already set from when your spouse filed for divorce. At the initial court date, the respective legal counsels present their points to the judge.
If you choose to contest the petition or its terms, your case is then sent to trial. That is where you are given another court date. During the hearings that follow the initial court date, you discuss terms such as division of marital property, child custody and support, as well as alimony.
Final Steps of Divorce
The final steps of divorce may lead to you and your spouse reaching an agreement in regard to the divorce terms. When you agree with all terms, the judge finalizes your divorce.
When you contest the divorce or do not agree to the terms presented by your spouse, it falls upon the judge to listen to both sides and provide their ruling. This ruling also includes the judge’s decision on the division of marital property and assets.
At Barkat Law, we understand how stressful the process can be on you and your state of mind. We make certain to handle your case with our extensive experience, competence, and credibility.
If you want help with divorce filing in Washington DC, then reach out to us today at 202-276-1167 and request your initial consultation.