A Divorce Timeline – How The Divorce Process Works

A lot of people have little to no idea about how a typical divorce timeline goes. What are the important dates and how different things can impact the proceedings? These are important questions your divorce attorney can also easily answer. Here is how a typical divorce timeline goes.

Starting The Process

The first and most important thing to do when you both decide to call it quits in the relationship is to get the wheel moving. You will need to go to a lawyer or have some legal person involved. They will help you write a complaint, which is also known as a divorce petition or separation petition. This document essentially contains all of the reasons you are filing for a divorce and you no longer wish to stay with your partner.

Filing The Complaint

The next important step is to have the complaint or petition filed and served to the other party. Here is something you need to remember about divorce terms. The person signing the complaint is the willing person, while the person who is being served the complaint is the defendant.

The complaint is registered in the family court and a copy of the complaint is served to the defendant party. It can be served in any way like through mail, or in person or you can also do it in person if you are on good terms with the spouse.

Receiving The Answer From The Spouse

Once the complaint or petition is served to the defendant party or your spouse, they are expected to be heard from you in a couple of weeks. This can go both ways. One, the spouse will accept your terms and the process becomes pretty straightforward. Or secondly, they might try this petition in court. It is their legal right to do so, and you should be prepared for a divorce trial if such things happen.

If there is no divorce drama and legal teams involved and both parties are getting separated amicably, then you can move towards the asset division and the custody of children, if you have any.

The Division Of Assets

After the response has been made by the defendant and the complaint is signed according to the willing party’s terms, the next thing is the division of all the assets which belong to both the spouses. This is done differently in different states. Some states give 50-50 divisions of assets, while some have different terms and conditions. Sometimes, the willing party can write up the legal petition and have it mention how much they want, but they need to provide a good reason for it, otherwise, it can be tried by the defendant in court.

Getting Into the Settlement Phase

This is a phase that can be done voluntarily or couples have to go through it. This is an important phase and it is close to the final settlement of the divorce procedure. Both parties need to come to a settlement.

The settlement is in regards to the division, the overall petition, and if there are any hard feelings. This is done in front of a judge and it is more like an informal court hearing. The judge asks a lot of questions about the basic relationship with children, and how you will go further from here personally.

Divorce Trial

If things don’t go as smoothly from the complaint and if the defendant wants to appeal the petition, then a trial comes into play. This trial is a small hearing and in this, the parties and their lawyers come in and rest their cases. They give reasons as to why the other party is going through this and why it is unjust and unnecessary. From here, the judge will make the decision of the appeal and it can be in favor of the willing or defendant party, depending on the type of evidence that’s produced.


There you have it! This is a simple process of a divorce and in some cases, things can become simpler or complicated, depending on the relationship between the partners and how they want to take it out on the proceedings. In any case, you need top rated divorce lawyers Fairfax VA to have higher chances of winning.