Although most depict divorce as a high-conflict process, this is not always the case. Nonetheless, with or without conflict, the divorce proceeding must occur to legally sever the marriage. Understanding this process, what issues might arise and what resolutions are available can help you obtain a better picture of what is ahead and what is necessary to reach a final judgment.
Final judgment in a divorce
When a final judgment is reached in a divorce court proceeding, this means that there has been a final ruling and the marriage between the couple is legally ended. Depending on the situation, these rulings are either rendered by a judge or jury. The divorce is granted and finalized once the court reaches this decision. In order to obtain a final judgment in a divorce, the couple must go through a formal proceeding in family court.
The need for a court proceeding
It is true that most divorces are settled without needing a structured court proceeding; however, some divorce cases cannot settle fully through negotiations, mediation or collaborative law. This is often due to the individual spouses being so far apart with their respective wishes that it is difficult to compromise or agree on an equitable solution. Most commonly, the unresolved issues involve child custody, child support and property division
When proceedings move forward in family court, each spouse will present evidence and arguments as they relate to the issues. Evidence can come in various forms. Often, this includes testimony from the spouses; witness testimony, including a guardian ad litem and expert witnesses, if necessary and documents related to marital property and finances.
Once the hearing is concluding and all evidence is examined, the judge or jury will issue a final ruling to resolve all surrounding issues and grant the divorce. The judgment issued will dictate the divorced couple’s rights and obligations. This can include the division of the couple’s marital property, debts and resolution of financial issues, child custody living arrangements, visitation schedule, child support and alimony.
Going to court to finalize your divorce might not be the most ideal process, as it can be costly and lengthy. However, if you and your spouse cannot resolve the issues involved through other methods, this might be the most suitable resolution. As such, understanding the process can help you better protect your rights and interests in the matter.