The Divorce Process: Complete Step by Step Guide

posted by Chris Valentine

More than 2 million marriages occur every year in the United States of America. However, a significant number of these marriages, tragically end in divorce.

If you’re someone who’s looking to end their marriage, know that you are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to realize that some things just aren’t meant to be. A common complaint among those seeking divorce is the tedious process involved.

This article breaks down the divorce process step by step, to help you get a better understanding of how the system works.

Legal Separation

Depending on which state you are in, you might be allowed to apply for a separation agreement in your court. If this isn’t allowed, you will have to get in touch with your Divorce Attorney and then request a hearing to facilitate a temporary separation.

Petition for Divorce

After that, your first step requires you to file an “Original Petition for a Divorce” or a “Letter of Complaint”, depending on which state you are in. This document covers information like who is filing for divorce, how many children you have, the reason for divorce and any relief either of the parties feel they are due from the other person.

Temporary Orders by the Court

After the petition has been filed, the court may issue an interim order. This may cover a variety of issues regarding child support or maintenance temporarily due to one party until a final decision can be made.

The Discovery

Next, the attorneys of both parties will seek information regarding the other party. This could occur through disclosures, interrogatories, admission of fact or via a request for production.


During a divorce deposition, each attorney will be permitted to take sworn testimonies from the other parties. Additionally, the attorneys may also depose any other relevant witnesses to the divorce matter.

Mediation and Court

Finally, you will have to undergo a mediation process wherein you and the other party will attempt to reach a settlement. Be sure to make your interests clear to your attorney so that they can advocate on your behalf.

Know that in case you are unable to reach a mutually agreeable decision, you will then have to settle your issues in court. While mediation allows you the opportunity for a win-win situation, it sometimes also favors the more aggressive party.

In court, both parties get to argue their case and put forth their interests. After the judge is satisfied upon hearing your arguments, they will decide the outcome of your issues.

If you feel like the court mandate is unfair, you also have the opportunity to appeal against the decision.

Understanding the Divorce Process Step by Step: Does the State Matter?

Now that we’ve completed the breakdown of the divorce process step by step, you might wonder whether it’s different in different states. The answer is yes.

While this is a simple overview of what you can expect, it’s important to consult your lawyer on the nuances of the laws of your state. Additionally, this may also differ according to individual circumstances.

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