One of the most important ways to reduce the fear of a divorcing spouse is to explain the various stages of the divorce process. Although every divorce is unique, the vast majority of them will follow a specific order of events. These stages of divorce are as follows:

— One spouse will begin the divorce process by filing a petition, or divorce complaint, which is usually written by a lawyer. The petition states why he or she is requesting the divorce and the preferred manner of settling custody, financial and other matters.

— The petition will be served to the other spouse, and he or she will have the opportunity to answer. The answer will state if the spouse agrees with the initial divorce petition and how that spouse prefers to settle various issues surrounding child custody, finances and other matters. When no answer is received, the court presumes that the other spouse agrees to the initial petition’s terms.

— The spouses will exchange information and documentation that could affect property division, child custody and other matters.

— The spouses will usually attempt to settle any disagreements out of court or by way of mediation. If the spouses can settle, then the judge will review the agreement before deciding to approve it or not.

— If no settlement agreement is reached, then a trial will be necessary.

Are you ready to bring your marriage to a close? Consider consulting with a Catonsville divorce attorney to determine what your legal rights and options are. Also, consider discussing the steps involved with divorce in more detail so that you can calmly navigate the process once it begins.

Source: FindLaw, “Divorce timeline,” accessed May 19, 2017