If your spouse just filed for divorce, there are a few important things you need to understand right away. This article provides an overview of what you can expect over the coming days, weeks and months, but to protect your rights, it is important that you seek advice from an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Is My Divorce Contested or Uncontested?

Given the circumstances, it is most likely that your spouse has filed for a contested divorce. In this context, “contested” does not necessarily mean adversarial, but rather reflects that you and your spouse have not reached an agreement on all aspects of your divorce.

What Should I Do Now?

As we mentioned above, you should speak with an attorney right away. There are deadlines you need to meet, and you need to begin taking steps to prepare for your divorce. It is important to understand that divorce is a process, and one in which you will need to be actively involved until your marriage has been dissolved.

Is There Anything I Need to Avoid Doing?

Yes. In Collin County, all divorce filings result in the court issuing a number of “standing orders” that are intended to maintain the status quo while your divorce is pending. These orders prevent you (and your spouse) from doing things like making major purchases, blocking one another’s access to property, and interfering with the time that you each spend with your children. If you violate one of these standing orders – even unintentionally – it could have significant ramifications during your divorce.

Does This Mean My Divorce is Definitely Going to Court?

Not necessarily. While some divorces end up in court, many spouses are able to resolve their property division, spousal support and child-related issues amicably outside of the courtroom. Some couples choose to use mediation – a process that involves seeking the help of a neutral intermediary – to finalize their divorces. Others choose collaborative law – a structured process that involves a commitment to work together and not resort to going to battle in court.

What are the Steps Involved in the Divorce Process?

Now that your spouse has filed for divorce, the next step is for you to file an answer. Then, there will be an exchange of information, typically followed (or accompanied) by discussions about settlement and the method (such as mediation or collaborative law) that you will use for your divorce. Once you and your spouse have come to terms, your divorce will be finalized in court, and then your marriage will be over.

If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on all issues, then the process can become a bit more complicated. Your attorney may have to file motions, argue at hearings, and take a number of other steps in order to make sure that you receive a fair outcome in your divorce.

How Long Will it Take for My Divorce To Be Over?

At a minimum, the divorce process will last 60 days. However, as a practical matter, most “contested” divorces take somewhere in the range of six to twelve months. Of course, this can vary significantly depending on a number of different factors, not the least of which is your spouse’s willingness to engage in meaningful settlement discussions.

Speak with a Divorce Lawyer at Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC

Nordhaus Walpole, PLLC is a team of dedicated family law attorneys who have extensive experience representing clients in divorces in Collin County. If you would like to speak with one of our McKinney divorce lawyers about your divorce in confidence, call our McKinney law offices at (214) 726-1450 or request a complimentary consultation online today.