If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse to end your marriage, then your only recourse is to file a divorce complaint. A divorce proceeding can be stressful and expensive; however, you can proceed through a divorce with dignity and clear objectives. I am attorney Dirken D. Winkler, and I am the founder and owner of Winkler Legal Services, LLC. I have eighteen years of legal experience and have represented many individuals going through a divorce.
Because a divorce affects almost every aspect of your life, it is paramount for me to thoroughly understand your matter from your point of view. I will assist you in identifying goals that are consistent with the circumstances of your case, and the law. At the end of the day, my chief responsibilities are to protect and advance your interests and to solve problems so that you can move on with your life in a productive and meaningful way. Understanding your goals and objectives helps me focus on the most important aspects of your case, thereby easing your frustration, stress and costs.
The Divorce Process
Initial Complaint / Answer to Complaint – A divorce proceeding is initiated when a spouse, the Plaintiff, files a complaint for divorce. The other spouse is the Defendant and he or she will need to file an answer to Plaintiff’s complaint, along with a counterclaim for divorce. Once Plaintiff’s files a complaint for divorce and Defendant is properly served, the divorce process begins.
Temporary Orders – The purpose of temporary orders is to maintain the status quo until the divorce case is finalized. In most instances, both of you will request the Court to issue temporary orders. Temporary orders are issued by the Court early in the divorce proceeding to address interim issues such as the temporary payment of debts, spousal support, use and occupancy of the marital home, and other financial issues facing your family during the divorce proceeding. Should you have children, temporary child custody, parenting time and child support issues are also addressed.
Discovery – This is the process where you and your spouse exchange information and documents regarding financial matters and other issues in your case. After exchanging information it is not uncommon to begin negotiating an agreement as to most of the issues in a case.
Trial – Should you and your spouse be unable to resolve all of the issues, a trial will be held. At the conclusion of the trial the Court will issue a decision addressing among other things, allocation of marital debt and assets, and, if children are involved, custodial rights, parenting time and child support. It is not uncommon for a trial to take up to two years to occur after Plaintiff files the initial complaint for divorce.
A lengthy divorce can be expensive. Therefore, it is important to have clear goals to ensure the wise use of your resources. Should you have children it is important to devise a plan to maintain as much stability for them as possible during this difficult transition. Whether you are filing for divorce or have been served a divorce complaint, it is important not to discuss issues with your spouse until you have talked to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.