During the holidays, you might have held out hope for your marriage after realizing that the joy of keeping a complete family outweighs the disputes you have with your spouse. You were determined to use the new year to mend your marital relationship. So, learning that your spouse felt and thought differently, and has filed for divorce leaves you shattered and confused.
As you reel from this news, you likely seek answers on how to approach it. Your Vermont legal counsel can help provide direction and protect your rights.
Navigating the divorce process
Since your spouse served you with papers, they are the plaintiff and you are the defendant. However, such labels do not necessarily influence how the court will evaluate your case.
With your lawyer’s guidance as compass, you can proceed into the divorce process by:
- Acknowledging receipt of the complaint and preparing a potential counterclaim
- Anticipating and following instructions from initial court orders and notices
- Attending mandatory court events, such as a case manager conference, to discuss disputed issues
- Agreeing to mediation to avoid a public hearing; a final contested proceeding may occur if you and your spouse continue to disagree on terms and need a judge to resolve them
The waiting period and costs of the process often vary depending on the complexity of your concerns, which are often related to arrangements for your child’s best interests, and the amount of shared assets and liabilities for distribution.