When divorcing, it’s difficult to know what to expect. Divorce is a complicated process that can be full of frustrating delays and unpleasant surprises. An idea of what is going to happen when can make an uncomfortable time a little more predictable. Every divorce is different depending on your situation and also where you choose to get divorced, but the following timeline is a general overview of what steps will happen when.
1. To start the Divorce process, either you or your spouse obtains a lawyer who writes and files a Petition with the court also known as a Complaint for Divorce. This is a legal document that states why the spouse wants to divorce and how the spouse wants to resolve financial, custody, child support, and other issues.
The time immediately following a separation can be very chaotic for many reasons. The emotional and financial trauma of separation is compounded by the fact that there are no rules or guidelines to direct both sides on what to do. Not surprisingly the newly separated husband and wife cannot agree on anything and may be very angry at one another. As a result each side may follow his or her emotions and matters can be become much worse. While it is always advisable for the parties to reach a settlement, even if it is only temporary, when no temporary settlement is reached the Court will schedule a pendente lite hearing.
A pendente lite hearing is scheduling at the Court’s Scheduling Conference so you will not know the exact date of the pendente lite hearing until then.
The question of "Who gets custody of the kids?" is one of the most difficult decisions for parents and their children when parents separate. When child custody arrangements are being decided, the Court considers two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lays his or her head at night. It is important to know that, absent extreme circumstances, both parents will share time with the child(ren) and in many cases some type of shared physical custody arrangement may be best for the child. Legal custody determines who will be responsible for making the important decisions in the child’s life. This includes decisions regarding education, medical treatment, and religion.