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Timeline: how a divorce proceeds

So you've filed for divorce. What happens now? This is a common question that people who have just filed often ask. Unless they have been through a divorce already in their life, the process will be a complete unknown to them, and they will likely have many questions about how their particular case will be handled.

There is a timeline for any divorce, and though the specifics of any case will vary, the timeline largely stays the same. A petition begins the divorce, one that is written by a spouse that explains why they want to divorce and how they plan to settle financial and custody issues. The petition is given to a court who considers it and then sends it to the other spouse, along with a summons.

This gives the other spouse a certain amount of time to respond with his or her own version of a petition, which states how he or she would resolve financial and custody matters.

Once this is done, the spouses can exchange information an documents with the goal being that a settlement can be reached. Sometimes this is done through mediation. Once a settlement agreement is reached, though, it will go before a judge and the he or she will have to approve it. If approved, then a divorce decree will be given. If it isn't approved, then the case will have to go to trial. If the case goes to trial, then arguments will have to be heard by both sides to eventually settle the matter. Again, a judge will have to approve the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "A Divorce Timeline," Accessed July 28, 2017

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