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Divorce: What legal actions should you take?

January is known for being one of the most popular months to file for divorce.

In fact, so many individuals file for divorce in January that its unofficially known as Divorce Month.” Many speculate this is because couples dont want to ruin the holidays, or perhaps the themes of change around the new year push couples to take that step.

Regardless of the reason, divorce can be a stressful period in anyones life. Thats why well cover the legal actions you should take if youre facing divorce.

Legal Action and Steps for Divorce

When all else fails, its time to consider the legal actions you need to take to protect yourself through the divorce process.

Here are the steps you should take.

Find a Divorce Lawyer

Not every divorce requires a lawyer, and most states dont even require you to hire one. However, it will be safest to seek out a lawyer early. A professional divorce lawyer will protect your interests every step away.

Moreover, they can provide advice every step of the way to navigate the divorce process. So, either seek out a lawyer early for safety and hire a professional if your divorce goes to trial.

File a Divorce Petition

To begin the divorce process, youll need to file a divorce petition. Regardless if both parties have agreed to a divorce, the petitioner will need to file a legal petition to their local court to terminate the marriage.

Your divorce petition must include the following:

  • Residency Requirements Statement – Most states require at least one spouse to have lived in the given state for at least three months to a year and in the county where the petition is filed between 10 days to six months. A court cannot accept the divorce case until these residency requirements are met. In Tennessee, an easy way to understand it is that a court can hear a divorce case where one of the spouse lives or where the couple last lived together. There are some other exceptions, but that’s why people meet with a divorce lawyer!
  • Reason for Divorce – This varies from state to state. Regardless, the state requires a legal reason for your divorce. These reasons are divided into at-fault or no-fault divorces.At-fault grounds include adultery, abandonment, criminal conviction, and emotional or physical abuse. Essentially any grounds where one spouse can prove the other is

    at fault” for the divorce can be used.No-fault grounds include incompatibility and irreconcilable differences.

  •  Additional Information by State – This varies, but every state has required statutory information to include in your petition.

File Proof of service

Once you have filed your petition and any requested court orders, you will need to provide your spouse with a copy of all the paperwork. Then you will need to file a document with the court to prove you have served” your spouse with a copy of your divorce petition.

Request Temporary Court Orders

A divorce can take several months to finalize. As such, there are some situations where waiting is impractical. Consider any temporary or necessary court order agreements you may need regarding child custody, child support, or spousal support. These court orders will help organize things until the final terms of the divorce are settled.

Remember, if you ask for a temporary court order, the court will hold a hearing, gather information, and then rule on the request. Be ready to provide any necessary information early.

Negotiate a Settlement

Many divorces require custody, support, and property division arranged in a negotiated settlement. This step can be avoided if you and your spouse agree on these matters. However, as is often the case, you may need to schedule a settlement conference between you, your spouse, and your attorneys to discuss the case. This may require court-arranged meditation with a neutral party to resolve some issues.

Take it to Trial

When negotiations fail, your divorce will go to trial. Both sides will be asked to present evidence and call witnesses to support their claims on matters unresolved during negotiation. Just like any other trial, the judge will consider the evidence provided before rendering a final and binding settlement to your divorce.

Looking for Legal Aid in Your Divorce?

As weve established, divorce can be a long and painful process. Its easy to be overwhelmed.

Thankfully, you dont have to do it alone.

Our team of Murfreesboro attorneys are divorce experts. Well take the time to get to know you, learn what is important to you in your divorce, and help you get it in the final settlement.

If you or someone you know are considering divorce, child custody, child support, or another family law issue, contact us today at (615) 890-1099.

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