A divorce starts with a petition. The person filing the divorce is referred to as the petitioner and the person responding is the Respondent. The respondent is not required to file a response to the petition, but it is certainly a better idea to do so, otherwise the petitioner can get a default judgment. After the response is filed the divorce can only be completed with a court trial or written agreement. An experienced divorce lawyer can make this process much easier.
The petition must be served on the respondent so that the respondent has notice. In any lawsuit, the person being sued must actually know they are being sued. A divorce lawsuit is no exception.
At the end of every divorce there is a judgment that finalizes everything. This occurs when the respondent doesn't respond to the petition and the petitioner moves for a default judgment. Once the respondent files a response, the case becomes contested because the respondent has now joined the case. However, this doesn't mean there is going to be a lot of legal activity such as motions and hearings. That entirely depends on what is filed by the two parties after the response. After the response is filed the only two ways to get a judgment are either by agreement or taking matters in front of the judge and letting him or her decide.
THE ROAD TO TRIAL
Only about 5% of cases end up going to trial. The litigation process might consist of:
Pre–trial Motions / Orders to Show cause: These are motions that divorce lawyers file with the court, asking the judge to rule on a particular matter. Good divorce lawyers write a brief referred to as a motion and file it with the court. The opposing divorce attorney will file their opposition, if any, and then the judge will rule. These motions can address almost any problem with the case.
Discovery: during the litigation process each side has the right to get information from the other side by written questions, subpoenas, depositions, etc. This is where the divorce lawyer might uncover unknown information, like hidden assets.
Custody Mediation: required when the parties can't agree on custody and parenting arrangements. The divorce lawyer will represent you at the hearing and put on evidence.
Settlement Conference: A formal meeting between the parties and judge to try and settle the case. A judge may give an idea of the likely rulings
If you are contemplating going through a divorce and you live around Modesto or Stockton, call our divorce attorneys today!