Planning/Preparing for the filing for the divorce:
When you are going to get ready to file for a divorce, you need to be mentally and physically prepared. You need to have a plan on who will stay in the family home and what party should leave. If there are children, who will the children reside with and if there will be any daycare or changes for the children’s school schedule. The children need to be thought of first and foremost as you need to have their best interests. The Court has a mandatory parenting seminar both parties are required to attend. All divorces with children are required to attend this class. Once you attend the class, the Court will be notified of your completion of the parenting seminar. The seminar is approximately (4) hours long. The Courts do not take lightly using the children as a pawn regarding the parties’ divorce proceedings. Further, the parties should not discuss any part of the divorce proceedings with the children, nor allow any third party to discuss any part of the legal process with or around the children. This type of communication is very damaging between the parties and the children.
What I continually see if once the divorce is filed, it takes time to finalize the matter if the divorce is contested. There is a process of the divorce and deadlines. The parties can agree to everything and on the 91st day of the party that was served, final orders may be entered. Regardless, you cannot get legal divorced until the 91st day. There may be discovery that needs to be disclosed, there needs to be a settlement conference, these all take some time to get completed. There might be mental health, domestic violence or drug and alcohol evaluations to be completed. You have to have patience with the law firm, as there are a myriad of issues that might need to be addressed, dealt with and completed before the parties can reach final settlement and/or trial.
You need to be prepared to pay the initial retainer, once the retainer is depleted, you will need to replenish the trust funds. There is a fee for having your spouse personally served. If you have a friend or family member, over the age of 18, they can personally serve the other party. This also helps keeping your costs down. There is a cost for attending mediation/settlement conference to be paid by each party. If there are children a Guardian Ad Litem could be ordered, and both parties share that expense as well. If the matter goes to trial, you will need to be prepared to pay a trial retainer. Some clients assume they can get the other party pay for their attorney’s fees, this is not always the case with temporary orders and a settlement between the parties. Getting a divorce is an expensive feat. You will need to timely respond and/or complete any tasks asked of you by your attorney, this also keeps your billable hours to a minimum. If you know you should be expected a document to reply to, get that timely completed and to your attorney, as to not create more billable hours.