To start the only time you really need an attorneys on either side is when it is contested. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce then an attorney is not necessary in most states. Simply you can do all the paperwork and negotiations yourself and then take it to court to be confirmed.
A divorce can be accomplished by completing the documents, filing with the court in your local jurisdiction and then serving the filed documents on the other party. Even if you both agree to the divorce the initial documents will need to be filed at your courthouse.
After doing so that starts the process. In most state there is a waiting period which I like to call a "cooling off" period. This waiting period gives time for the other party to contest and file the appropriate paperwork, time to negotiate and agree and maybe a time to reconcile.
It is important that you have a reason for the divorce when you file. You don't want to say "just because" that is not a reason. Keep in mind almost all states look at a marriage essentially as a contract and many contract laws come into play. So have a reason for the divorce.
The reason for divorce can be a subject onto itself which I will not go into in this article. But another type of divorce, depending on the state you live in, is a "no-fault" divorce. You don't need to point blame but just acknowledge the marriage is over and you will not likely get back together. I once had an attorney say that you can get caught cheating in bed and under a No-Fault divorce state that is irrelevant and is not even an issue in court.
As you might image that adultery and abuse is the main culprit in divorce filings. Adultery is self-explanatory but abuse comes in all shapes and sizes. They are verbal, sexual, physical, and emotional and so on. Either way you go you must be able to prove it. Don't just throw it out to hurt the other side because a judge will probe the reason for your claims. Shy of the spouse fully admitting it - a trial will proceed to either prove or disprove the claims.
It is a typical trial where each side has the right to question the other and to call witnesses and have those witnesses cross-examined.
Now if you complete your own divorce and your spouse is amenable then most of the work is done. After the waiting period the court will confirm and finalize the divorce under the terms agreed to in the court documents.
Once attorneys get involved on both sides watch out it will likely get quite expensive and often can drag on and on. So the alternative may just be a do it yourself divorce also know as DIY divorce which is cheaper and less contentious.
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