Guiding You Through The Divorce Process From Start To Finish
Your First Consultation
In your first consultation, I’ll take time to listen to your story and primary concerns. Then we’ll discuss possible options for proceeding and the potential costs involved. What I’m listening for — and what you should be too — in this conversation is whether we will make a good team. This is your life, so it’s too important to simply hire a “yes man.” I will tell you how I see it, even if it’s sometimes hard to hear.
If you can handle that, here’s generally how the divorce process proceeds.
Starting A Divorce
We’ll first determine the appropriate method for resolving your issues. That could mean working through negotiation, mediation, collaborative law or divorce litigation. I’ll educate you on how these processes work, the pros and cons of each, and then help you decide which one best fits your family’s needs. You can also use this initial phase to set temporary orders for things like child support, living arrangements and paying the bills.
You should know that moving out during divorce is not considered abandonment of your children. We can set up a temporary custody arrangement while working on the details of your final parenting plan.
Once the divorce petition has been filed and responded to, we enter the next phase, called the discovery phase. This is where the clients and lawyers on each side compile the details of your shared life, including your:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests
- Family home and any vacation homes/cabins
- Personal belongings
- Shared debts
If you have kids, we’ll then work on the details of a parenting plan and child support. Generally, we’ll handle these issues separately, since overlap only tends to put pressure on an already stressful situation for your kids.
Finalizing The Divorce
Many cases can be settled via negotiation or in mediation. You’d be surprised at how much common ground you can find when armed with accurate information and honest counsel. Once we reach a settlement, we’ll file it with the court and that’s that.
Those who can’t find compromise will need to go to trial. The preparation needed for a trial is long and labor-intensive, and the outcome is never guaranteed. A judge, who only knows you from the evidence presented to him or her, will make the final decision on your future.
For this reason, pursuing a trial just to keep the other side from “winning” is a bad strategy, because no one usually “wins” at trial. There are issues worth going to the mat for, like allegations of domestic abuse, but it’s important that we have sound arguments and that our facts are straight before doing so.
It Starts With A Phone Call
This is a general outline of the divorce process, and no one case will look exactly like another. To discuss your case with me, attorney Shea Stevens, call my office in Overland Park at 913-717-0797 to set up a consultation today.