Terminating a marriage is never easy, but understanding the process and procedure related with this life altering event will give you and your spouse the essential information to make educated decisions.
Most people automatically think of divorce when it comes to ending a marriage, but married couples who are separating have various legal options accessible to them.
Annulment: To annul a marriage is to understand the marriage was never constituted as legal marriage under the laws of the state in which it occurred.
Legal Separation: Legal separation involves family court because filing a petition to gain legal separation status is required. According to divorce law, living separately from your spouse does not constitute as an official separation. Even though separation usually indicates a step toward divorce, not every separation ends in divorce court. If you and your spouse reconcile, you probably won't seek further legal action.
Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce starts in regulatory procedure: a spouse files a petition for divorce and arranges for service of process on the other individual.
However, if the individuals are able to come to an agreement on all of the aspects of the divorce, a hearing is not necessary. Instead, the parties may present an agreed order, if the agreement is accepted in court, the divorce finalized without a hearing.
Contested Divorce: The term "contested divorce" has two meanings depending on the circumstance it is used.
- One party disputes the other does not have motive for divorce and attempts to put a stop to the divorce.
- Both spouses want a divorce, but the husband and wife are unable to agree on issues like division of property, visitation, custody, and who is accountable for various debts.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): In an Alternative Dispute Resolution, spouses call on the services of an unbiased third party to assist them in resolving their case in a non-trial procedure. ADR usually costs less and issues can be resolved faster without the hostility of legal action.