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Legal Separation and Divorce Timeline

When a couple decides to break up either in terms of a legal separation or full divorce, it can be a complicated legal process. This is because while the feelings of the people involved have changed and both are looking to start up a new life, the legal process is rather slow and deliberate. Understanding the chronology of the timeline for legal separation and divorce can help you see what is required before the process is complete.

Naturally, the length of the process itself will depend on where you live and whether the separation or divorce is being contested. However, there are some basic guidelines that will help you better understand what occurs during this process.

Why Choose Legal Separation?

The main reason is to protect your financial assets and interests until the decision is made to either get a divorce or go back to your marriage. A separation that is legally recognized means that you are protecting your rights in case your spouse does something that would otherwise put your interests in peril.

A legal separation is far easier to acquire than a divorce because you are still considered in the marriage even if you no longer have any contact with your spouse. However, if you should decide to get a divorce, then you will need to take the following steps.

Initial Actions of Divorce

The first steps usually involve hiring an attorney for proper representation and receiving legal advice on the next steps to take. Keep in mind that certain states do not recognize a legal separation, but filing for divorce will have the same impact in protecting your interests.

  • File Petition: One spouse will file a petition or complaint through their lawyer which states why they want a divorce. In addition, it will also include how they want it settled in terms of custody of children, finances, and other issues. Their lawyer will file the complaint to the court and also serve it to the other spouse who will be required to respond.

    The spouse who receives the complaint will have a few weeks to respond either in agreement or not. If agreed, then the petition is fulfilled as written. If there is no agreement, then the other spouse will have to state in their response what they want to occur.

  • Exchange Documents: During this process, information is exchanged about income and property. This will be used as the basis for deciding how it is divided up. Plus, alimony and child support will be dealt with as well. Some states require divorcing couples to go through a negotiation process first and only when it fails will it reach the court.

    If a settlement is agreed, it will go to the court for the approval of a judge. If the judge does not approve, then the reasons the judge gave must be fulfilled in order to get a proper agreement. Once agreed, the judge will then issue a divorce decree. If there is no agreement, then the case goes to trial.

  • Trial: All unresolved issues are handled at the trial when they are decided by the court. The attorneys will present the cases and the judge will make the decision. Once a decision has been made, the judge will grant the divorce. The timeline may last for months or even years depending on how long the divorce is contested.
  • Get advice with Denver’s Top Family Lawyer. Call Adam Moore Law today at (303) 228-2171.

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