During the divorce process, it’s very common to go through various stages of grief. But once you’ve made the decision to get a divorce, you also have to go through the five stages of divorce—the legal process that will end your marriage. Here’s what you can expect during the legal steps for divorce in Alabama.

What Are the Five Stages of the Divorce Proceedings?

The first stage of a divorce is simply filing the paperwork with the court. One spouse will file a petition for divorce and must serve the other spouse with a summons. Generally, the person receiving the summons must respond within a certain amount of time.

Second, you might need to ask for interim orders, such as temporary child support or alimony. During the divorce proceedings, these temporary orders will allow you to support your family.

The third stage of divorce is the discovery process. Both parties will request and provide information that will be used in the settlement process.

Fourth, the divorcing parties will reach a settlement. This can be the most challenging and contentious part of the divorce proceedings. Ideally, a divorcing couple will be able to work out a settlement through negotiations or mediation, without needing to get the court involved. In some cases, however, the court will decide what is fair if the couple is unable to reach a compromise.

Finally, the court will sign off on your divorce and all rulings will go into effect.

How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced?

It’s hard to predict how long it will take to complete the divorce proceedings. Each situation is different, and factors like child custody, property division, and alimony negotiations can make the process take longer.

You can speed up your divorce with a collaborative approach. Try to work with your spouse amicably in coming up with a fair settlement. Not only will this reduce the emotional toll on you and your family, but it will also reduce costs and resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Most people need a divorce lawyer to help them through the five steps of a divorce, especially if the negotiations become heated. It’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer, regardless of your situation. Very few divorces are simple enough to resolve without legal counsel.

If you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer in Alabama, give our Birmingham firm a call at (205) 858-9224 today. Our attorneys focus solely on family law and can help you decide how to proceed in your divorce.