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How Divorce Litigation Works

How Divorce Litigation Works

Going through a divorce can be confusing and stressful. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can help lead you through the divorce process, interpret the legal jargon, and help you know what to expect next. But it is good to have an idea of how divorce litigation works before you start the process of seeking a divorce.

What is divorce litigation?

This legal process involves terminating the marriage through the court system and settling all the details of division of property, debt, and assets as well as deciding child custody.  Divorce litigation requires the presenting of your case before a judge who will help sort out these details of separating the married couple into two individuals.

What are the steps of a divorce?

If you are seeking a divorce, there are some basic steps that take place. While all state’s legal requirements and processes can vary, the basic overview of the divorce process is as follows:

Filing for divorce: To start the ball rolling, one spouse first files for divorce. This spouse, called the plaintiff, petitions the court for divorce. The complaint states why a divorce is being sought, what the division of assets, rights and timeshare with the child should be.

Serving the petition: The plaintiff, who originally filed for the divorce, must serve the divorce papers to the other spouse, the defendant. Serving the papers means having a process server provide the other side with a copy of the petition and any accompanying documents. This officially notifies the defendant of the divorce proceedings.

Counterclaims: Now that the defendant, or spouse who did not file for divorce, is informed that the other spouse is seeking a divorce, there is a certain period, typically 21 days depending on the state you live in, to disagree or respond to the complaint. As a respondent, you may make a counterclaim or state your position on the divorce terms.

Discovery Phase

Both parties engage in the discovery process, which involves gathering and exchanging relevant information and documentation related to custody, assets, debts, income, and other factors. Discovery methods may include written questions, requests for documents, depositions, and subpoenas if necessary.

Negotiation and possible settlements

Trying to reach mutually agreed solutions can make the entire divorce process less stressful. Through their lawyers, married couples can negotiate what they want to take with them in the divorce and what they are willing to give up to the other spouse. This can involve mediation or settlement conferences facilitated by your attorney or a neutral third party.


If a settlement cannot be reached by the spouses, the case will be taken to trial for a judge to decide on the specifics of the divorce. Each party presents their arguments, evidence, and witnesses to support their position on matters such as property division, child custody, and support.

The judge carefully listens to both sides, looks at whatever evidence is provided, and makes decisions outlined by the law of the state. A judge will also decide child custody arrangements, if applicable.

If you are seeking a divorce and need an experienced law attorney to guide you through the litigation process, give Warnock Family Law in Las Vegas, NV a call today.