Even when a marriage is irretrievably broken, the very idea of a divorce can cause great anxiety. Venturing into unknown territory causes anxiety as well. By explaining the process and giving you a roadmap, we hope to calm some of the fears and anxieties associated with a divorce. To initiate a court proceeding, a party files a Petition with the court clerk and pays a filing fee. The opposing party may either be served with the documents by a process server or waive service by signing and notarizing a formal acceptance of service.
The opposing party has twenty days in which to file a written Response with the court. So, the petition and response make up the initial court pleadings. Once the initial pleadings are filed, the court assigns the case to a Superior Court Judge. That judge hears all of the issues and family matters involved throughout the case. Occasionally a judge is rotated to another area of law and, should that occur, a replacement judge will be assigned to the case. In every divorce, legal separation, and paternity case with issues over child custody, child support, and parenting time, both parents have to complete a court-approved parent information program class.
This three-hour class educates parents on the emotional impact domestic relations cases often have on children, and what can be done to help. The parties may negotiate a full settlement of their case without any trial. Full settlement means every issue has been raised, discussed, addressed, agreed to and settled between the parties. When full settlement isn’t possible, for whatever reason, the parties through their attorneys litigate the remaining issues at a trial. All remaining issues are presented at trial and decided by the judge. Discovery refers to the exchange of all relevant information regarding the case. The parties are entitled to request discovery from each other while the case is pending.
Either may ask for copies of documents, that written questions be answered, and that admissions or denials of statements in writing be made. Discovery can take time, so be prepared with patience. When a value needs to be put on a business, a party may request a report from a Business Evaluator, typically a forensic accountant. The evaluator examines and analyzes the business records, and may also interview the parties and company employees. Divorce Angles assist you with the step guide of getting a divorce.
Depending upon the complexity of the business being evaluated, it may take three to five months for the finished report. When the parties simply cannot resolve every issue in their family case, a trial becomes necessary. And trials involve risk. There is no certainty on how a judge will decide an issue. In every trial, the decision-making authority is relinquished to the judge – it is no longer in the hands of the parties. In most appeals, however, a judge’s trial decision will not be overturned unless there was clearly an abuse of judicial discretion. Consequently, most trial decisions are final.