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5 stages of divorce

If you are thinking about getting divorced, you probably already know that you could be entering a long and complicated process. From separation to actually filing a petition for divorce and dividing marital property, there are various stages you will have to complete.

You may be wondering exactly what to expect as you travel down the divorce highway. While each case may have slight variants, the following steps in the divorce process can prepare you for what lies ahead.

Legal separation

One of the first things many people do is to make their separation legal. You can petition a Cook County divorce court for a separation agreement that can protect your interests, along with those of your future ex-husband and your children. The separation agreement requires that both of you uphold the obligations specified in the document.

Temporary divorce order

Another step is to request a temporary divorce order. The court can grant a temporary divorce that includes specific actions that must occur as soon as the order become active. These requirements will not expire until the final divorce hearing. Typically, a temporary divorce order includes child support, custody and even alimony actions that must happen while the order is active. Failing to follow the order could result in contempt of court and possible jail time or fines depending on the judge.

Discovery

Discovery occurs when your respective attorneys gather information about each of you. In general, there are five steps in the discovery process including disclosures, interrogatories, admissions of fact and request for production of documents.

The attorneys request certain information, submit lists of additional questions and provide each party with a list of facts to confirm or deny. Finally, the attorneys request additional information like bank statements, property titles, statements of income and any other documentation that is relevant.

Deposition

After discovery, the attorneys may take depositions of sworn testimony from both you and your spouse and any witnesses. The information the attorneys obtain during the deposition can be used in court if the two of you cannot reach a settlement otherwise.

Court

If you and your future ex cannot agree on a fair settlement to divide the marital property or other aspects of the divorce, you must prepare to litigate the issues in court. There, both of you will present your arguments to the judge. However, be sure you fully understand appropriate court behavior because the outcome could rest heavily on the judge's opinion of you. Dressing or acting improperly might adversely affect the outcome of your case.

If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important to understand the divorce process so that you know what to expect along the way. Also, you can plan to make wise decisions to protect your interests going forward.

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