What Really Happens After You Decide to Divorce
Making the decision to end a marriage can be a long, emotional process. Some spouses think for years about leaving their husband or wife before finally contacting an attorney and initiating legal action. For many people, the process of choosing whether to divorce can be so burdensome that they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what happens next.
Uncertainty about what lies ahead is often one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce, so it’s important to retain a knowledgeable New York attorney who will explain what you can expect, such as:
- Filing and service of legal documents — Divorce is not just the end of a romantic relationship, but a sophisticated legal proceeding that begins with the filing of a summons with either a complaint or notice describing the allegations. Though New York now allows for no-fault divorces, you might choose to allege one of the fault grounds, such as adultery or cruel and inhuman treatment. The non-filing (defendant) spouse then responds by filing an answer with the court and serving it on their spouse.
- Submission of marital settlement agreement in uncontested cases — In some cases, divorcing spouses will already have agreed on terms relating to child custody, visitation, property division, alimony and child support. If this is true in your case, the defendant spouse can file an affidavit noting that no disputes exist over the marriage dissolution terms. Your signed marriage settlement agreement can be submitted to the court for likely approval by the judge.
- Establishment of temporary arrangements in contested cases — When you and your spouse disagree on one or more divorce terms, the case might last several months or even years. Once the initial papers have been exchanged, the parties work to negotiate an order that will govern issues such as parenting arrangements and financial support while the legal matter is pending.
- Exchange of information and settlement discussions — Even if there are serious personal conflicts between spouses, both can benefit by putting their differences aside and attempting to reach a settlement out of court. This means that you and your spouse can move forward with your lives rather than waiting for a court date and spending time and money on litigation. While the case moves toward mediation and possible trial, parties exchange financial records and other relevant information as part of the discovery process.
Should the parties be unable to reach a compromise on their own, using a neutral mediator to help forge a settlement is often very useful. If not, the case will head toward trial. Each divorce is unique, and you should consult with your attorney to understand how your case might proceed.
Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. is Long Island’s divorce leader and helps clients throughout the area end their marriage as smoothly as possible. You can schedule a free consultation with an experienced New York family lawyer by calling 1.631.479.3839 or contacting us online.