Did you know that you need a Final Judgment signed by a Judge in order to dissolve your marriage? How do you get one: The process begins by filing a document known as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the county where you and your spouse last resided as a married couple. The Petition identifies the parties and their children, place and date of marriage, requests spousal/child support and informs the Court on how you would like to divide the property and debt acquired during the marriage.
After filing, the process of exchanging the parties’ personal information commences and usually continues for several months. Following the exchange of information and documents, known as financial disclosure/discovery, the depositions of the spouses, friends, and family members may be taken. Multiple hearings may be necessary throughout this process if the spouses are unwilling to comply with discovery requests, or cannot agree on how temporary issues of support and timesharing should be settled.
Following discovery, if the case is not settled, trial will be scheduled. Your trial will be set before a Judge and can last days or weeks, depending on the issues in dispute. It may take several months before the Final Judgment is entered. From the beginning of the lawsuit until the Judge enters Final Judgment, the divorce process can last one or two years, and perhaps even longer.