Making a Decision to Divorce No one, not even an attorney, should tell you whether divorce is the right decision or not. Divorce is a personal decision, one that many choose to discuss with their friends, family, mentors, religious leaders, and therapists.If and when you do conclude that divorce is the right step, you or you and your spouse will need to make a decision. Will you utilize the collaborative divorce process or proceed with a contested divorce case? If you choose the latter, continue to the next step.
Find an Attorney When the decision to get divorced is made, you should contact a Maine family law attorney as soon as possible. You may have questions such as if a divorce makes legal sense in your situation, and your lawyer can inform you of any steps you need to take before filing.Choosing the right lawyer is a decision that will determine how your divorce ends. Do your research and make sure you ultimately hire a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. After all, you will be working with them for some time, and they will know many personal details of your life.
Begin the Divorce Once you retain an attorney, they will collect information and enlist your help to prepare the initial filings. Your divorce case officially begins once your Maine family law attorney files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your spouse will then be served with divorce papers.
File Financial Paperwork/Child Support Affidavits You and your attorney will need to complete a financial affidavit, as well as a child support affidavit, in cases involving children. The court cannot rule on any financial issues within the divorce, such as spousal maintenance and child support until these have been submitted, nor can the parties engage in the financial discovery process until those forms have been submitted. We will also receive the same from your spouse. At which point, we can begin to assess many of the financial issues in your divorce.
Case Management Conference A case management conference is a hearing involving the judge, attorneys, and you and your spouse. Getting your case moving forward is the purpose of such a conference. The judge will want to know what you and your spouse agree and disagree about and if there is any possibility of quickly settling the case. The court will then issue a scheduling order with deadlines for important case milestones such as conducting discovery, noticing of expert witnesses, depositions, etc.
Attend Mediation In Maine, the law mandates that if you have children under 18, both you and your spouse must attempt mediation. If there are no children involved, mediation can still take place if both parties request it. Court-hired mediators do not provide legal advice. Instead, they help spouses compromise and resolve disputes on specific issues. Mediation is a great way to keep down the costs of divorce, which can increase when one or both parties want to litigate every issue at trial.
Trial or Settlement Your divorce will likely either end with a settlement or a court-ordered solution. Most of the time, it is better to settle as you will have more control over the outcome. However, you should discuss this at length with your Maine family lawyer. Settlements should not be agreed upon if one spouse is giving into everything the other spouse wants. Your attorney can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of going to trial.
Decision By state law, the minimum amount of time before the court can grant a final divorce is sixty days from the day the summons and complaint were served on the other party. It is not uncommon for the divorce process to last many months, especially if children are involved. Once you and your spouse have resolved your disputes in mediation or the judge has ruled on your case, your final divorce decree will be issued.
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The attorneys at The Maine Divorce Group understand how emotional and complex the divorce process can be and we are here to help. Call to speak with a member of our team today, who can discuss your case and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys.
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