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Steps for Managing a Divorce

While marriage is a momentous occasion in anyone's life, it's not always guaranteed to work out for every couple. Divorce is common in today's society and a major cornerstone of family law practices. Besides having to change around living arrangements, a couple going through divorce has to negotiate such issues as child custody, financial settlements, and asset protection.

If you're going through a divorce, you'll need to keep the following ideas in mind.

1. Divorce is a long process.

A divorce can be decided upon in an instant, but the actual process leading to a couple's legal separation can take up to a year. It will begin when one spouse files a claim for divorce in court. The other spouse then has 28 days to respond to the claim. If the second spouse files an "answer," the case for divorce is contested. If not, then the claim goes through. A conference between the spouses and their attorneys will follow 2 to 3 months later, and if they fail to reach, an agreement, then the matter goes to trial and a written decision by the court.

2. Divorce is expensive.

Naturally, there are several costs associated with the legal process, including a deposit to be paid when filing a case for divorce. In some cases, spousal and child support will be mandated depending on the gross income of both spouses, health care costs, and the number of children they have. The law will also provide a formula for an equitable division of shared property and debt.

3. The court does not have to determine everything.

Whether with the help of lawyers or on your own, you and your spouse can work out your own arrangements during the divorce. Most courts would prefer, for example, that the couple set up their own plan for child custody and parent visiting hours. This also includes the question of how to handle financial payments to your spouse (or from your spouse to you) and if you want to keep your married name or not.

4. Your attorney is your ally.

Whenever you're making a decision during the divorce process, you should always consult with your attorney (who, ideally, is qualified to practice family law and help your case). For example, your attorney might recommend that you avoid dating anyone while the divorce is ongoing; a new relationship can complicate your case and reflect poorly on your judgment. In addition, whatever you discuss with your attorney will remain confidential, allowing you to make clear and rational decisions in what will be a painful experience.

Also Read: Finding Right Attorneys for Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide

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