- Lawyer – draft and file Original Petition for Divorce and serve opposing party.
Investigation and Information Gathering
- Lawyer – define and clarify client’s goals, investigate claims and address immediate issues.
- Client – define and clarify goals, complete assigned tasks (budget & the inventory and appraisement questionnaire).
Discovery (Informal and Voluntary Exchange of Information or Formal Written Discovery)
- Lawyer – review client’s completed tasks, draft client’s initial spreadsheet outlining the parties’ marital estate, and update client on additional information needed, if any.
- Client – continue to gather information and documents requested by attorney.
- Lawyer – attempt to coordinate an informal and voluntary exchange of information with Opposing Counsel/Party. If Opposing Counsel/Party is unwilling to do an informal and voluntary exchange of information; Lawyer will begin drafting formal written discovery requests to Opposing Party (i.e., Rule 194 Request for Disclosure, Written Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, Notice of Intent to Take Oral Depositions, etc.)
Settlement Negotiations and/or Mediation
- Lawyer and Client – review discovery exchanged and reassess client goals.
- Lawyer – initiate settlement negotiations with Opposing Counsel/Party. If the parties are unable to reach settlement through informal settlement negotiations; coordinate mediation.
- Lawyer and Client – attend mediation with Opposing Counsel/Party. Mediation is a process wherein the parties engage the services of a qualified Mediator (a family law attorney and/or retired Judge) to hear the positions of both parties. The Mediator’s job is to assist the parties in reaching an amicable solution to all disputed issues. If Mediation is unsuccessful, the case will proceed to trial.
- Client – trial and witness preparations
- Lawyer – gather and prepare all evidence, create and prepare trial exhibits, coordinate expert and/or lay witnesses and prepare them for trial testimony, supplement Client’s discovery, prepare Client’s pre-trial statements, and continue settlement negotiations with Opposing Counsel/Party.
Finalizing your Divorce
Once settlement is reached or the court renders a judgment, there are various written closing documents required to divide all of the assets and liabilities of the marital estate and, to memorialize the terms of settlement or the court’s order. This will require additional drafting and communications with Opposing Counsel/Party. As we move through the divorce process, we will continually advise you of the additional work that will be required to finalize your divorce.