There are two basic types of divorce.
One is an Agreed Divorce that consists of the parties reaching their own agreement regarding custody, child support, asset/debt division, maintenance etc. One party would retain my services to draft the appropriate documents and appear in court. The other party may want to retain counsel to review the documents, but do not have to. In addition, the other party may want to attend court on the final court date, but do not need to. I have completed an Agreed divorce in 2 weeks and for one flat fee. This is a good option for parties that are able to reach an agreement on their own, and want to finalize the matter quickly and cost-effectively. It can be done within a matter of weeks and for one, low, flat fee.
The second type of divorce, which is more common, is the Contested Divorce. The case starts with the filing of a Petition or Dissolution of Marriage and service on the other other party. If the location of the other party is uknown, service can be by publication. If there is no participation after thirty days have passed, since your spouse was personally served, a Motion to Default can be filed and you can obtain a divorce a few weeks thereafter. If your spouse participates, whether they represent themself or obtain an Attorney, we can begin working on settlement. If no agreement regarding custody is reached, you will be ordered to Mediation. If no agreement is reached in Mediation, the court may appoint either a Guardian ad Litem, Child Representative or a Section 604(b) Evaluator. In addition, Discovery may be conducted. Discovery is the request for information and documents. The court will also conduct a Case Management Conference and set a Trial Date. The Court can hear issues while the case is pending and aso conduct a Pre-Trial Conference to give recommendations on settlement. If an agreement is reached, a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage is prepared and a Prove-up Hearing is conducted to finalize the Divorce. In the alternative, the Court will conduct a Trial and make a decision to resolve the case.