Divorce 101

MLF Team

Divorce 101


Divorce is an unfortunate and relatively common life event that, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), impacts between 40 and 50 percent of marriages. Knowing how this process works can help divorcing couples transition smoothly to the next stage of their lives. To get more information about divorce 101, consider contacting a seasoned Georgia divorce attorney from The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500 to schedule a consultation.


Divorce 101: What Is the Divorce Process?


The American Bar Association (ABA) defines divorce as the legal process resulting in a court-issued decree that formally ends a marriage, enabling the spouses to remarry if they wish. Each state handles this procedure differently, but it generally involves multiple legal matters, such as property division, custody of children, and child and spousal support.


What Is the First Step When You Want a Divorce?


The initial step for those wanting a divorce involves filing a petition with the court. This is necessary irrespective of whether both parties want a divorce or just one. Divorce petitions include the following information:


  • Residency requirement statement — This declaration outlines how one or both spouses meet the necessary residency requirements for the state in which they are filing for divorce. These conditions vary between states and counties. Without meeting the residency obligations, it is not possible to file for divorce in that location. For example, many states require one of the spouses to have lived in that state for a period between three and 12 months prior to filing.
  • Reason for divorce — The permissible reasons vary between states and depend on whether the individual is filing for a no-fault or at-fault divorce. Suitable no-fault divorce rationales include incompatibility, irreparable relationship breakdown, and conflicting differences. Examples of at-fault divorce reasons are abandonment, infertility, adultery, impotence, physical or emotional abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, and conviction of a crime.
  • Other details — Any remaining information required by the state in which the individual plans to file the petition also must be included.


Other Steps Involved in a Divorce


Following the filing of a divorce petition, the other steps to the divorce process that individuals can expect include:


  • Divorce orders — The court may issue a temporary legally binding order for one or both parties to follow during the divorce proceedings, particularly if the divorce is not amicable. These typically relate to child support, spousal support, and child custody issues
  • Discovery — This process involves providing the court with necessary documents, such as financial documentation, concerning the marriage so the judge can make an informed decision regarding the divorce
  • Mediation — Amicable breakups can result in divorce mediation, where both spouses discuss their issues with a third-party mediator to achieve a divorce settlement. If successful, arguing their case in court will be unnecessary
  • Divorce court — When mediation fails, each spouse presents his or her case in court, and the judge assesses the evidence before making a final decision
  • Final decree — The judge issues the divorce decree to declare the end of the marriage, which includes any legal orders related to property division, child custody, and alimony


A family law attorney from The Millard Law Firm will  be able to help expand on this divorce 101 guide. Attorneys help their clients explore the legal options available when going through a divorce.


What Is the Hardest Time in a Divorce?


Each marriage has different circumstances and involves unique individuals who may struggle with certain elements of the divorce where others excel. However, the time many people find the most challenging is the separation period, which refers to the time between deciding to seek a divorce and actually filing. During this stage, there is great uncertainty concerning asset division, alimony, child visitation and support, and multiple other issues, which can cause spouses to feel overwhelmed.


How Do I Prepare My Mind for Divorce?


Dissolving a marriage can be a difficult decision. Although the marriage may have been filled with discontent, ending the union can bring its own stress. Below are tips that can help spouses mentally prepare for divorce.


Try Resolving Spousal Issues


Start by attempting to resolve the issues between your spouse and yourself. If this is not achievable, spouses can still gain closure concerning this stage of their life, which can make the divorce process go more smoothly.


Focus on Moving Forward


After trying to resolve the problems with your spouse and deciding to proceed with the divorce, the recommended approach is to completely commit to the decision. This can help everyone associated with the split to move forward with their lives. Attempt to approach the process in a businesslike manner to make things move more quickly and to avoid making decisions that can be costly in the long run.


Avoid Thinking Too Much About the Divorce


Constantly dwelling on the divorce does not speed up the process and is more likely to cause distress to those involved, including family members and friends. With this in mind, consider only speaking to your lawyer and your spouse during certain times of the day.


This opens up more time to spend with loved ones or on practicing self-care. Limiting communications can help you to feel rejuvenated and better able to make effective decisions when handling divorce matters.


Adopt Self-Care Practices


Divorcing spouses may benefit from adopting self-care practices as soon as the divorce process starts. This may entail exercising regularly, eating well, getting a medical checkup, meditating, or speaking to a therapist. All of these activities can help people improve their physical and mental well-being, which can enhance their abilities to make rational decisions during divorce proceedings.


What Not To Do When You Want a Divorce


Married people who want to get a divorce may want to consider avoiding the following actions:


  • Forgetting to change a Last Will and Testament (Will): Divorces do not revoke wills automatically. Be sure to update this estate planning document when the divorce is final to prevent the other spouse from acquiring any assets left to them in the current version
  • Failing to remember tax implications: If one of the spouses cannot afford to make mortgage payments and pay the taxes and maintenance costs associated with the family home, agreeing to other assets of equal value might be more appropriate


Contact a Georgia Divorce Attorney Today


The APA states that divorce can have substantial psychological implications on the divorcing couple, such as depression and self-esteem challenges. Understanding the divorce process can help manage the expectations of those undergoing this legal procedure and reduce the impact it can have on their well-being. To learn more about divorce 101, consider contacting a Georgia family law attorney from The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500 to schedule a consultation today.