Divorce is a complicated process, both emotionally and financially. To make matters worse, most couples feel overwhelmed when they begin the process of ending a marriage, making it hard to know where to start.
Whether you’re considering divorce or have already started the process, this guide will provide an overview of what to expect. Let’s take a look at how to navigate the divorce process.
Step #1: Filing for Divorce
The first step in the divorce process is filing for divorce with your local state court. In many cases, this involves filing a Complaint with your court in the county that you reside in.
You must include information about yourself and your spouse, including your name and address, marriage date, and other pertinent details about your relationship. You’ll also need to specify why you are seeking a divorce — whether you have a grounds for divorce or you are claiming that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
You need a certified copy of your marriage certificate to attach to the complaint for divorce.
Regardless, getting legal counsel before filing for divorce can be instrumental in securing your rights and ensuring the most amicable agreement for everyone involved.
Step #2: Mediation & Dividing the Assets
Once you’ve decided you want a divorce, have filed the complaint, and served it on your spouse, you will want to gather all of your and your spouse’s information regarding your assets and debts. Your attorney will attempt to mediate a resolution with your spouse or his or her attorney. (Mediation can occur prior to the filing process, as well.)
One of the most contentious parts of divorce often revolves around dividing assets between spouses. Depending on where you live, some assets may be considered marital property — meaning they must be divided equitably — while others may not fall into this category (such as inheritances or gifts).
During these meetings, you’ll negotiate issues such as alimony payments, child custody arrangements, and the division of assets. Meanwhile, the goal of the meetings is generally to come up with an agreement that both parties can live with; if no agreement can be reached during these meetings, then it may be necessary for each party’s attorney to present their case before a judge finalizing the divorce proceedings.
Step #3: Settlement
The divorce settlement is the final agreement made between two divorcing spouses that resolves all financial obligations, including alimony payments, asset division, childcare expenses, and more. This agreement will be part of the legal documentation to dissolve the marriage.
It’s essential to remember that each step of the divorce process can be complicated — let alone emotional — so it’s best to consult with a Massachusetts divorce attorney to understand what rights you have and how best to protect yourself financially during this difficult time. Negotiating a divorce settlement with the help of qualified legal counsel can reduce stress on each spouse during this trying time.
Navigating through a divorce can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you know what steps are involved and what resources are available. This guide provided an overview of what you should expect throughout the entire divorce process — from mediation to filing for divorce to asset division — so now you have more insight into how best to handle this difficult situation.
No matter how complicated or emotional things become during negotiations between yourself and your spouse, remember that the legal professionals at Jenkins-Bryant & Surrette Law can help guide you through the delicate divorce process one step at a time. With our assistance and understanding of divorce law in Massachusetts, navigating through the complexities associated with ending a marriage doesn’t have to be insurmountable, after all! Contact JBS Law today and learn more about your rights during divorce.