A Divorce, or Dissolution of Marriage, is often contested. The case starts with the filing of a Petition or Dissolution of Marriage and personal service on your spouse. If the location of our spouse is uknown, service can be by publication. If there is no participation by your spouse after thrity days have passed since being 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 in the first few months, 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.