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How can an attorney help with the divorce timeline?

Unless an individual has been through a divorce, there can be surprises resulting from the process. For starters, many individuals aren’t familiar with the typical divorce timeline, which is governed by court procedures. Understanding that timeline can help an individual feel more comfortable.

After the petition filing, an individual seeking a divorce should be prepared to address any temporary issues that require a plan before the divorce is finalized. Those issues may include temporary child custody and visitation, support, or even restraining orders to protect against domestic violence.

An individual should also be prepared to gather the evidence and witnesses needed to make informed decisions about support and property division. Uncontested issues might be reduced to a proposed settlement agreement and presented to the court for approval. Unresolved issues may need to be argued before the judge, who will then issue a final judgment or decree.

An attorney can help divorcing individuals prepare for each upcoming hearing or deadline, in addition to responding to disputes that may arise in the moment. In high-asset divorces, for example, it can be a challenge to gain a complete financial picture. Relying solely on your spouse’s representations may not be advisable, as even innocent mistakes can be made when the marital estate is large and contains different types of assets. In addition, assets may need to be valued before they are divided, and a fair valuation is best left in the hands of an attorney.

An attorney can also provide context for alimony or support requests. Approaching these issues with open communication may help save time, but an attorney should be consulted to protect one’s interests, providing insight into whether proposed settlement offers are fair.