The timeline of a divorce can vary based on a variety of different factors. Divorcing couples may want to know what they should expect from the divorce process. Generally understanding how the process unfolds can be helpful and may address some of the anxiety sometimes associated with divorce.

Once the couple has made the decision to divorce, divorce papers will need to be filed. It can also be beneficial for the couple to file for legal separation prior to that so divorcing couples should be familiar with how that process works and the benefits of it. The divorce process begins with a petition for divorce that one spouse files and serves to the other spouse. The divorce petition will include how the filing spouse would like to divide property and handle child support, child custody and other divorce-related issues.

Once the divorce petition is served on the other spouse, the recipient spouse will have a certain period of time to answer the divorce petition. The spouse can respond with how they would like to divide property and handle child support, child custody and other divorce-related concerns. The answer is essentially a response to the divorce petition served by the filing spouse. A failure to respond to the divorce petition can result in a default judgment and it will be assumed that the spouse who failed to respond agrees with the filing spouse’s divorce petition.

The next step in the divorce timeline is for the divorcing couple to exchange documents and information and then they will negotiate divorce-related concerns including property division, child custody and child support. If they are able to reach a divorce settlement agreement, it will need to be approved by the court. If they are unable to, the divorce will proceed to litigation for resolution. Because no divorce is the same, the divorcing couple should be familiar with the divorce process generally and what to expect from it.