Divorce Law

By Staff Writer

If you decide to take your spouse to court, your state divorce laws will have specific requirements for presenting your case. However, here are some basics steps you should be aware of in a litigated divorce. After the petition is filed, your attorney may file pretrial motions asking the court for temporary court orders for spousal support, child custody and support, and visitation.

Pretrial motions are written or oral requests made to the court. However, temporary court orders are written rulings by a judge on a disputed issue, and they may address who lives in the family home, whether assets are frozen or not, and whether property may be sold. A judge can also issue an injunction, which can bar an action, such as a spouse wanting to remove property from the family home.

Divorce Law --The Discovery Process
The next step in a divorce case is called discovery. This is the process where each spouse supplies the court with information about joint assets, for example. If a spouse tries to withhold information, discovery can take a long time. Formal discovery may try to speed this process with legal tools such as a subpoena, a deposition, an interrogatory or a notice to produce documents. These are court orders which can't be ignored.

Before the trial, divorce law stipulates that you will have a pretrial conference or hearing. This is an informal meeting where the judge will ask both spouses questions and attempt to settle out of court. Remember, a divorce and custody case is settled by the judge, not a jury, and the judge may announce his decision immediately, or take some time to analyze the facts of your case. When the judge has reached a decision, the court will enter that judgment as final.