A Brief Overview of the Divorce Process


David P. Badanes, Esq.

A divorce can be complicated. There will be many terms and issues that you will be unfamiliar with. The following is a brief general overview of the divorce process.

STARTING THE DIVORCE

Lawyers will often use the term, the “commencement” of the divorce. This means when someone first filed a summons with the Court. The Summons should state that this is an “Action for Divorce”. In addition to the Summons, typically a “Complaint” is also filed.

SERVING THE SUMMONS AND/OR THE COMPLAINT

After the summons and/or the complaint is filed, then it must be properly served upon your spouse. You cannot simply just hand the Summons to your spouse. In order for service to be “proper”, it must meet certain criteria. The best way to make sure you properly serve your spouse, is to hire a process server.

ANSWERING THE SUMMONS AND/OR THE COMPLAINT

Once you receive a summons or a complaint, you usually only have 20 days to respond — or answer — the summons. The Answer is either served upon your spouse or upon your spouse’s attorney. Typically, you do not have to hire a process server to serve an Answer.

THE FIRST COURT CONFERENCE — CALLED “THE PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE”

In most divorces, the first time you go to court, it will be for a “Preliminary Conference”. Most attorneys will shorten this and call this the “PC”. At the PC, the Court will usually get a brief description of the facts of your divorce. The Court will also issue n Order that will set certain deadlines or a timeline for your divorce. One deadline would be the deadline to obtain discovery and the time to respond to discovery demands.

DISCOVERY

Discovery is the process where each party demands documents or other information that may be required for the divorce. Each party first serves its “discovery demands”. Then each party has a certain amount of time to respond to those discovery demands, with its “responses to discovery”.

OTHER COURT CONFERENCES

In most contested divorces, there will be several court conferences. Since a divorce can take several months to several years, the court is constantly updated with the status of the divorce. This is done with a court conference whereby the parties inform the Court of any changes in the divorce or any new developments.

TRIAL

After discovery is completed, the Court will set a trial date. A trial can last anywhere from 1 day to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the divorce.

Please note, since every divorce is different, there may be several exceptions to this general overview. It is best to consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney as there are many other issues and actions that can occur during a divorce.

David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office make sure that you understand how your divorce is proceeding and will answer all your questions. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our Long Island Divorce Lawyer web site: www.dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Suffolk County (Northport) and in Nassau County (Garden City). In addition, The Badanes Law Office can arrange to meet you in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn.

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