Your divorce may look different than anyone else’s. This is important to remember, especially when getting advice from well-meaning friends. The experience is not always the same for everyone.
That said, if you’re thinking about divorce and wondering what it is going to be like, there are some common steps that most couples take. A few of them are outlined below:
- The separation. For some couples, this is a legal separation backed by official paperwork to show that, while they’re not married, they are living alone and their assets are separate property. For others, it’s just an unofficial separation after the marriage falls apart but before the divorce is final.
- The divorce filing. At least one of you has to officially file for divorce. In the past, this meant presenting an argument for why you should get the divorce. You don’t need to provide a reason for a no-fault divorce in 2020, but you still need to file.
- Temporary orders. This is not a step used by all couples, but can be helpful, especially for families. Essentially, knowing the divorce may take months, the court quickly rules on things like child custody, alimony and child support to help things go smoothly.
- Court or mediation. Mediation is the process of working with your spouse, your attorneys and a mediator to make decisions on your own. When you can’t agree, you can go to court and a judge can make the decisions.
This is a quick breakdown of the expected divorce process, but it can get very complicated. Be sure you understand your legal rights and the options you have.