The initial stages of your divorce can be hectic. You’re often trying to process a great deal of emotion, while at the same time trying to sort out your temporary financial and living situation. To make things more complicated, once your divorce is officially initiated with the Court, the timeline for various deadlines starts to run, and it’s important to know what to expect. Here are three things you can anticipate in the initial 42 days of your divorce:
- The Petition/Response – if you are initiating the divorce, either you or your lawyer will file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the appropriate county. The Petition, and several other documents, will then need to be personally served on your spouse. If you are served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you will have 21 days to file a Response. These documents are largely just forms containing basic information, but it is important to fill them out correctly, based on the relief that you are requesting from the Court.
- Sworn Financial Statement – 42 days after a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, a Sworn Financial Statement and accompanying financial disclosures are due. A Sworn Financial Statement is exactly what it sounds like – a statement of your income, expenses, assets and debts, that is sworn to under penalty of perjury. You are also required to provide copies of various different financial documents, including bank statements, credit card statements, tax returns, income statements, paystubs, retirement statements, mortgage statements, etc. This is a very tedious and time-consuming process, so be aware of the deadline.
- Initial Status Conference – this should also occur within 42 days of filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. An Initial Status Conference is a conference at the Courthouse with you and the other party to discuss the scope of your divorce. Depending on whether or not you have an attorney, this conference may or may not be in front of a Judge. Be prepared to discuss the issues in your divorce, and whether or not you need an expert (appraiser, custody evaluator, etc).
Your obligations with respect to the Court can seem never ending, especially at the beginning of the process when you receive a great deal of paperwork. Knowing what to expect in the initial stages, or having an attorney prepare and guide you through each step, can be imperative to keeping your head above water. Contact me for a free consultation to discuss the exact steps necessary in your case.