What to Know About a Divorce Filing
Believe it or not, like marriages, divorces are all unique. You may have those purely simple ones that can be done online and have no contest, mutual agreement, and never see the light of day in court; and then you have the hotly contested ones, sometimes involving everything from infidelity to child abuse. And everything in between.
And the amazing part is that all of these types of divorce are generally covered in the law for each state.
There are general things to know about a divorce filing, though – and it doesn’t matter what state you live in, or even what marriage or divorce you may be dealing with.
95% of All Divorce Petitions Settle Outside of the Courtroom
When considering a divorce filing, know that it’s not a definite to appear in court. Even the serious ones may be settled quickly, even without attorneys present.
So consider possibly having the divorce filing handled through mediation rather than a court case. Another option is something called ‘collaborative divorce,’ a type of practice where attorneys for both parties actually work together to come to a ‘collaborative’ decision on a dispute for a petition of divorce. Depending on the situation and the particular divorce filing, it might be a good alternative.
Additionally, ‘arbitration’ – a process very similar to mediation – can be a possibility. It’s simply a process by which an ‘arbitrator’ outside of the court system hears both sides of the divorce filing, considers both parties, and then makes a final decision on a judgment for divorce. One aspect that is different with this process compared to mediation or court involvement is the fact that arbitration cannot be appealed. Once the decision is made, there’s no going back.
The bottom line is this: know that a divorce filing doesn’t have to end up in a courtroom or even end in a courtroom.
Secondly, consider this:
Attorneys May Not Be Present
There’s nothing in family law that states you absolutely have to have an attorney present for a divorce petition. Recognize that. It may save you retainer fees, hourly rates, and a lot of time.
For sure, you have the option of hiring an attorney. In fact, the court may even appoint a family law attorney from within the court system. Know, though, that when all is said and done, court fees would be included in the appointment of the attorney; so you can obviously refuse legal representation.
The honest truth is if the divorce is generally uncontested, there’s really no need for a lawyer to be present. Just the two parties.
Have the Right Mindset
Probably the most important point about filing for divorce. A client should have the right reason, even if it’s something as serious as infidelity. Granted, it’s cause for serious anger, outrage, even a means to speak out on the injustice.
But the point of filing for divorce is to get through the process and arrive to the decision on a judgment for dissolution of marriage. Plain and simple. A client filing for divorce on the basis that he or she wants ‘judgment,’ while justified, will only tend to prolong the whole process.
It’s important to understand that if divorce is the answer, getting that answer as quick as possible is the main objective.