The steps taken in obtaining a divorce depend on your particular situation. A divorce between two people who have been married for a relatively short period of time, have no children, and simple property and assets could be less involved than those married for a long period of time, have minor children and assets/debts, or those with complex property to divide.
Beginning the Divorce Process
A lawyer drafts and files the Original Petition for Divorce, then serves the petition to the opposing party.
Investigation and Information Gathering
A client will be asked to define and clarify goals with their attorney. The attorney will document the client’s defined goals, investigate any claims, and address immediate issues. The client will complete assigned tasks, such as preparing a budget, inventory and appraisement.
Discovery can be a formal or informal exchange of information between the parties. The attorney will assign the client with tasks in order to prepare for the exchange of information. After the attorney receives the documentation, all documentation is exchanged for review by each party and their respective attorneys. The client continues to gather information and documents as requested by the attorney.
Settlement Negotiations and/or Mediation
The attorney and client review the discovery exchanged together and reassess the client goals. Settlement negotiations can be initiated through counsel and/or, in some cases, discussed between the parties. If the parties are unable to reach settlement through informal settlement negotiations, then mediation can be coordinated.
If mediation is the next step in your divorce process, attorney and client both attend mediation with Opposing Counsel/Party. Mediation is a process wherein the parties engage the services of a qualified Mediator to hear the positions of both parties.
The Mediator’s role is to assist the parties in reaching an amicable solution to all disputed issues. If Mediation is unsuccessful, the case can proceed to trial or, the parties and their respective attorneys can try to continue settlement negotiations. If Mediation is unsuccessful, the case will proceed to trial.
If all else fails, issues that the parties cannot resolve between themselves will be decided at a trial. Going to trial will take longer, cost more money, and have less predictable results. In preparation for trial, the lawyer gathers and prepares all evidence, creates and prepares trial exhibits, coordinates expert witnesses and/or lay witnesses and prepares them for trial testimony. Attorney also supplements the client’s discovery, prepares client’s pre-trial statements, and continues 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 continually advise our clients of the additional work that will be required to finalize the divorce.
To arrange a consultation with Capps Law Firm, PLLC, call our Austin office at (512) 338-9800.