TIME LINES AND PROCEDURES FOR DISSOLUTION AND LEGAL SEPARATION
FILE PETITION Action is commenced by the Petitioner. Filing Fee est. $320,
plus the cost of a process filing service, approx. $50-75.
SERVE RESPONDENT Start 6 month waiting period. Period cannot be shortened, but
usually is longer. Respondent protects from default Judgment
by filing a Response. Filing Fee est. $320.
TEMPORARY ORDERS Party may need support, custody and visitation orders, etc. that
*OSC (Order to Show Cause) Hearing will be good until the "trial". Attorney may have to request Court's
*Settlement meeting help to get other side to produce documents requested, etc.
DISCLOSURE 1-Preliminary Voluntary exchange of information on income and expenses and
all assets and debts. Preliminary is mandatory, the final may be
DISCOVERY If disclosure is inadequate, depositions, Interrogatories, and requests
to produce documents can be made. Here we find out the value of assets and other facts of the case: what is the property? Who does it belong to: both ("community"), one party ("separate"), or a
combination? What are the income needs and expenses of each? What are the various circumstances for custody?
DISPUTE RESOLUTION: Hearing: A short formal court hearing before a Judge but without live
testimony by witnesses. All testimony is by written declarations.
Trial: A long very formal hearing before a judge where all testimony is
by live witnesses. Preliminary meetings and briefs are required by state
law and local rules.
Mediation: Informal and confidential review of issues.
DISCLOSURE II - Final All reports must be full, complete and accurate. Waiver is discourage.
SETTLEMENT At any time in the process the parties can enter into an agreement
on any issue. The process continues until all issues are disposed
of by settlement or court order.
HEARING or TRIAL Hearing: A short formal court hearing before a Judge but without
live testimony by witnesses. All testimony is by written declarations.
Trial: A long, very formal, hearing before a Judge where all testimony
is by live witnesses. Preliminary meetings and briefs are required
by state law and local rules.
JUDGMENT - "Status Only" Terminate marital status without a full property settlement.
Parties are restored to single status.
FINAL JUDGMENT Disposes of all issues related to property, support, custody and status.
POST-JUDGMENT ORDERS To enforce or modify orders in the final Judgment, such as property
Transfer, support or visitation.
Q.D.R.O. Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A separate order after Judgment dividing the pension plan. It tells the Plan Administrator who to pay, how much, and when.
Caution: These general guidelines are for your information only. Your case may vary.
You might need a new will before you start this. 5/4/09