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.
Discovery is the phase of litigation in which both sides request information from one another. The purpose is to learn about each position taken by each side to facilitate a settlement or, if a settlement is not possible, to get as much information as possible to be used at trial.
There are two main types of discovery in Family Law cases: Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. These requests must be made formally and sent to the other side or his/her lawyer. Once received, the Maryland Rules state that you have thirty (30) days to answer. There is a prescribed format for answering these discovery requests and you may find that you will need an attorney to help you ask for discovery and to respond to the other side’s discovery requests of you. Please note that you are required to respond to these requests and failure to do so may result in various sanctions against you.