Divorce Proceedings - Filing Information

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Judith Mason
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Divorce Proceedings - Filing Information

Post by Judith Mason »

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Marriage is a fragile thing. As such, it takes an incredible amount of work to keep a life-long relationship healthy and honest throughout the years. Unfortunately, due to a variety of reasons, some marriages just don't end up working out.

The process of divorce is a set of legal proceedings to formally end a marriage, which will dissolve the bonds of matrimony between a married couple and handle the reorganization or cancelling of any legal duties and responsibilities that came as a result of the marriage.
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There may be many reasons for a couple to decide to end their marriage, but ultimately a spouse must present legal grounds for a Judge to approve the ending of the marriage.

Legal grounds is the justification that is being used to end the legal marriage. Typically, reasons for divorce will fall into one of two categories: at-fault and no-fault. At-fault grounds for divorce are when the spouse filing for divorce claims the other spouse is responsible for ruining the marriage, whereas no-fault grounds are when neither spouse is singularly responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

Possible grounds for divorce include, but are not limited to:
Grounds for Divorce
No-Fault Grounds
  • Incompatibility
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
At-Fault Grounds
  • Adultery/cheating
  • Bigamy
  • Criminal conviction and/or imprisonment
  • Desertion
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Impotence at the time of marriage
  • Marriage was the result of force or fraud
  • Mental illness
  • Mental or physical abuse
  • Spouse lacked sufficient understanding to truly consent
  • Spouse was not the legal age to marry
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A typical divorce is one where the couple will appear in front of a judge with their respective attorneys to determine a way forward that is fair for both parties, as well as any children that were born during the marriage. These court proceedings are designed to handle matters including, but not limited to:
  • Alimony - Financial support from one spouse to another
  • Division of Property - Separating real estate and other physical property owned by the couple
  • Name changes - Keeping your married name or reverting to your birth name
  • Child custody - Determining the legal guardianship of the children from the marriage
  • Child support - Establishing an ongoing, periodic payment for the financial benefit of a child
  • Child visitation - Establishing the rights and access of spouses to see and interact with children of the marriage
A typical divorce is necessary when spouses may disagree on the above matters, which will require arguments to be made to a judge, who will finalize the terms of separation. If the couple separating has no disputed terms, they may opt file for their marriage to be dissolved instead.

When filing for divorce, both spouses should hire attorneys as the legal proceedings will be used to present arguments to the court.
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Title: [Divorce] Party 1, Party 2
Example: [Divorce] John Doe, Jane Doe
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A dissolution of marriage is a simplified process of divorce proceedings in which the married couple has already determined a resolution for the above stated matters. The couple must file for a Summary Dissolution of Marriage and will be required to supply the court with a Marital Settlement Agreement, outlining the specific terms of separation.

Due to the fact that the terms of separation are not being disputed, a Summary Dissolution of Marriage could be a much less costly option, as the fees will be limited to court filing fees and fees associated with drafting up a contract, as opposed to lengthy legal proceedings where both parties must be represented by an attorney of their own.

When filing for summary dissolution, hiring an attorney is not required, but is recommended to assist in drafting the Martial Settlement Agreement.
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Title: [Dissolution] Party 1, Party 2
Example: [Dissolution] John Doe, Jane Doe
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The final way for a marriage to be legally ended is through a court order known as an annulment. This method is reserved for situations where the marriage was not valid when it was performed or if no-fault grounds for divorce arises within 2 weeks of getting married.

When filing for an annulment, hiring an attorney is not required, but is suggested if you are unsure how to file the document properly.
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Title: [Annulment] Party 1, Party 2
Example: [Annulment] John Doe, Jane Doe
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