Few things in life are as emotionally charged as divorce. Divorce divides the family, not only legally, but financially and emotionally as well. At The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul, our goal is to make the divorce process as amicable as possible. We believe in exploring settlement to the fullest extent possible to lessen the emotional strain on the family; however, we are dedicated to protecting our client’s rights and are strong litigators if the settlement process fails.
If you are considering divorce, we highly recommend a pre-divorce consultation with a divorce attorney. At the initial consultation, the attorney will listen to the facts of your case, determine the legal issues involved, and give you guidance on how you can proceed. Some factors to consider before filing for divorce:
- Are you able to support yourself and your children during the divorce process?
- Have you and your spouse reached an agreement as to the custody of the children during the divorce?
- Have you and your spouse discussed living arrangements during the divorce? Will one of you continue to live in the marital home or will it be necessary to sell the marital home?
Aside from these issues, there are many other factors that will impact your divorce. A pre-divorce consultation is confidential and is the best way to get an overview of what you can expect during the divorce process. To schedule an appointment with one of our divorce attorneys, call 314-499-1476.
The Divorce Process
Filing for Divorce
Once you are ready to proceed with a divorce, the first step is to file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The divorce process varies by county but typically your spouse is allowed a certain number of days before he or she is required to file an Answer to your Petition.
The Settlement Conference
Once both the Petition and Answer have been filed, a settlement conference (also referred to as a Pre-Trial Conference, Case Management Conference, or Status Conference) will be set. This is the first time your case will be before the Judge and a time to determine what issues are in dispute and what additional information, if any, is required to reach an equitable settlement.
Discovery is the process of gathering information about marital assets, debt, misconduct, and other issues affecting your divorce. The most common forms of discovery are Interrogatories (questions the parties ask each other), Request for Production of Documents (information and documentation the parties can request of each other) and subpoenas (obtaining documentation from other parties such as employers, financial institutions, schools, etc.). Additional settlement conferences are usually scheduled during the time of discovery to see if the parties are able to reach an agreement as more information becomes available.
If settlement fails and the parties cannot come to an agreement, then the case will be set for trial. During the trial, both parties will have the opportunity to present evidence, give testimony, call witnesses, and cross examine the opposing party. Once all evidence has been heard from both parties, the Judge will have final authority to decide issues such as alimony/maintenance, child support, child custody, and the division of marital assets and debt.
Let Us Help
If you are facing divorce, you need an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the difficult decisions that lie ahead – call The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul at 314-499-1476 to schedule an initial consultation.