The decision to divorce and go separate ways is seldom an easy one. If you have been involved in divorce proceedings before, then you may have an idea of what to expect going forward. For first-timers, one of the questions you will no doubt want your divorce lawyer to answer for you, is "how long will the process take?"
A seasoned divorce lawyer with an understanding of the system and plenty of experience working similar cases will breakdown the various stages and the timelines attached to each as follows.
The Separation Period
That you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have been separated for no less than 12 months is a requirement you must meet before applying for a divorce. This meets the threshold proving that your marriage or partnership has irretrievably broken down.
If you are both going to continue staying in the family home, then you should talk to your divorce lawyer about what to do to avoid any confusion later on in the process. An affidavit signed by a third party is usually more than enough.
Applying for Divorce
After the 12-month period has lapsed, you can go ahead and make your application for divorce. Your divorce lawyer can see to the application, ensuring that the required documents, including a copy of your marriage certificate, are duly filed. Once filed, your application will be listed for hearing in court.
You should also ensure that you serve the respondent spouse within the time limits provided by law. If your to-be ex-spouse is overseas, this has to be done at least 42 days before the date set for the court hearing. For a resident, you must ensure that they are served at least 28 days before the hearing date.
If there is some backlog of cases, then you can expect your court hearing date to be set for a little later. You are generally not required to attend the hearing unless you wish to do so. What you can do is have your divorce lawyer represent you in court.
If the court is satisfied that your case meets all the requirements and merits, then you can expect an immediate pronouncing of the divorce order. This order is usually provisional, and you will need to wait for a month and a day after the hearing and order pronunciation for your divorce to be final.
Effective communication and cooperation with your divorce lawyer will ensure that your case runs smoothly, and you can avoid any delays on account of errors during document submission and serving as well as a court appearance.
For further tips, reach out to a local family lawyer.