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What is the general timeline for a divorce?

Some people in Louisiana know, generally speaking, how divorce works. In essence, you break up with your spouse, divide your assets, determine child custody and set any child support and spousal support obligations. In reality, though, divorce is much more nuanced, and you may find yourself wondering how it works from a technical aspect. Although it may seem basic, understanding the simple timeline of a divorce can help you get a grasp of what is to come and what to expect.

A divorce always starts when a spouse files a petition for divorce. This document will state why the spouse wants a divorce, and how he or she thinks that certain divorce legal issues, such as property division and child custody, should be handled. Once this petition is filed and served on the other spouse, the other spouse then has time to file an answer. An answer will demonstrate whether the spouse agrees with the petition and, if not, how he or she thinks divorce legal issues should be handled.

At this point, important documentation is exchanged and, if possible, the matter is set for some sort of mediation or settlement conference. Here, the parties will come together to see if they can reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable. If they do, then the agreement can be presented to and signed off on by a judge. If no agreement is reached, then the matter may have to go to trial. At trial, a judge will hear evidence and issue a ruling as to unresolved divorce legal issues.

No matter what stage of a divorce you are facing, the help of a legal professional may prove beneficial. A skilled legal advocate can help file appropriate paperwork, negotiate a fair settlement and persuasively litigate before a judge. Therefore, if you are considering divorce or are going through one on your own, then you may want to consider speaking with a legal professional who can help you better understand your options.

Source: FindLaw, "A Divorce Timeline," accessed on Nov. 25, 2016

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