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The 6 steps of the divorce process

If youre getting ready to end your marriage, you probably want to know what to expect as you work through the dissolution process. There are several ways to go about divorce if you file in Alaska. However, generally speaking, there are six main steps in the traditional divorce process. 

The first step before officially filing is deciding how you wish to go about your divorce. Do you want to file a contested or uncontested divorce? Do you want to utilize mediation rather than litigation? Only you can decide which of these options will best serve your family.  

Step two: Filing the petition 

After you decide how you want to go about your divorce, you need to file the dissolution petition. In the petition, you will indicate whether you are filing a fault or no-fault divorce. Alaska does not require you to list specific grounds for divorce unless you feel compelled to do so. If you have children, youll need to complete custody and support papers. You may even include your wishes for the property division settlement.  

Step three: Have the petition served to your spouse 

Once your divorce petition is filed with the court, it needs to be served to your spouse. This is something someone other than yourself must do. It could be a police officer, friend or professional server.  

Step four: Your spouse is given time to respond 

After receiving the papers, your spouse has so many days to respond. Generally, they have about a month to do so, but the exact number of days depends on state law. If they fail to respond, a default judgment may be awarded and your divorce approved.  

Step five: Negotiations 

If your spouse does respond and has concerns over your proposed settlement terms, discovery and negotiations, or mediation, can begin. Youll each have the opportunity to share all your financial and property information so everyone is on the same page, and then you can start discussing who gets what. Youll also have the opportunity to discuss child custody, support and alimony payments. This step is avoidable if you end up filing an uncontested divorce.  

Step six: If negotiations fail, you go to trial 

Most couples can reach settlement terms that they feel satisfied with during the negotiation or mediation process. However, some are not able to do that, and they need a judge to step in. If the latter happens to you, the judge assigned to your case will hear the concerns of both parties and listen to witnesses before deciding property division, child custody and support terms. If you disagree with the judges ruling, you may file an appeal. 

You can do this 

There is a lot involved in the divorce process. It may seem overwhelming at first. Thankfully, you don’t have to go through this alone. With the right support, you can get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible.