If you are going through a divorce the state in which you live will dictate what the process will be like for you. This article is designed to give you a brief look into the divorce process in general, the events that will occur and what you can expect throughout.

One of the first step in the divorce process is the separation process be it legal or agreed upon by the two parties. Depending on the circumstance the separation could occur when the courts legally negate for it or one party decides to leave the family home.  A legal separation is an agreement that is put in place to protect both parties and any children.  If you live in a state in which a legal separation is not allowed your first step will be to obtain a divorce attorney who will file a motion for a temporary separation to be put in place.

To begin the actual divorce process you and your attorney will file a petition for divorce with the local courts. This document identifies the two parties involved, any children between them and reason for divorce.  In most state there are two main reasons for divorce, irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.

Whoever files for the divorce is known as the petitioner/plaintiff while the other party is referred to as the respondent/defendant. The individual starting the divorce process will serve a letter of complaint to the respondent.   Once this has been done the respondent has thirty days to find and hire their own divorce attorney and respond to the original letter of complaint.

Once this is done a temporary order of divorce is issued addressing issues with temporary custody, support and other important issues that are immediate.  Once this has been put into place any party violating the agreement can be held in contempt of court and jailed and/or fined.

The next step is considered the discovery phase of the divorce process.  This is a legal way to gather information.  The steps include: disclosure, interrogatories, admission of fact, request for production and depositions.  In a smooth divorce this is hopefully the end for you.  It is hopeful that during mediation that the parties involved along with their attorneys will agree upon a settlement.

If you are not able to mediate an agreement that is suitable to both parties you will be given a trial date where both parties will go before a judge and argue their case. The judge will examine all the evidence and a decision will be made based on what he/she feels would be the best resolution.

A final decree is signed after the court has ruled.  It will lay out how the property is to be divided, custody arrangements, support both spousal and custody as well as any other issues that are pertinent to dissolving a marriage.

Most divorces require a period of time between the initial filing and any rulings surrounding the case.  This period of time increases if children are involved. The period is set to give both parties time to consider reconciliation.  Such is considered a cooling off period for the parties to make sure a decision to divorce has not been made in haste.

Divorce is not a simple process and should not be taken lightly.  Contact a local divorce attorney for more information regarding the divorce process in your state.