What happens after a response is filed?
The divorce process is rarely a quick one. The most efficient divorces occur between two people who spend their time focusing on the importance of keeping their family happy and caring for their kids rather than hurting one another. These are couples who sit down together and figure out the family finances, the assets and debts, and how they want to handle caring for their kids. They file together, they have their affairs in order, and the process is faster for them because they’re making it as simple as possible. When you decide to file on your own and serve your spouse with divorce papers, there might be a few issues.
The first step after filing is the serving of the papers. A process server finds your spouse and provides him with the papers. He has so many days to read the papers you filed to see what you’re asking for and what conditions the divorce decree comes with. He then has to file a response by the date listed on the paperwork. This response either agrees to the conditions outlined on the paperwork or disagrees with the conditions. He may file his own conditions, and the court will go over those and potentially ask that you go through mediation.
Mediation is a process in which you both sit down with a neutral third party to discuss the outlining facts regarding your case. You will be asked to come up with satisfactory agreements while you’re together, which includes discussing what you disagree with in the petition that was filed. If you can come up with a satisfactory agreement about everything you previously disagreed upon during mediation, the process of your divorce will move along much faster.
If you disagree, you might find yourselves in a court hearing in front of a judge arguing your case. This means you must stand there while the judge asks you why you want this and not that, and then he makes the decision for you based on need and evidence or anything else that’s needed to make a final decision. If you are going to disagree and end up in front of a judge, you can confidently assume you might not like the outcome of this situation. It’s far better to handle this in the mediation room or prior to filing for divorce.
Do I need an attorney?
You are not required by law to have an attorney with you when you go through a divorce. You may represent yourself in the middle of your divorce, but an attorney can certainly make the process a bit smoother. An attorney can work with your spouse’s attorney to figure out how to divide assets and debts, child custody, and come up with an agreement for you. You aren’t required to be there with the attorneys, and things often run a bit smoother when you have an attorney do this for you.
You might even avoid a court hearing if you hire an attorney to fight for what you want in your divorce. It’s not an easy situation in which to be, but you should remember trying to hurt your spouse in the middle of a divorce by disagreeing on everything is only making things more difficult. Be honest and open, and don’t assume you’re doing the right thing fighting every point.