Our firm’s goal is to assist families in need to navigate their way through these important, life-changing events.
The process of divorce is never an easy one. Amidst all the stress, tension and unpleasantness surrounding divorce, the legal procedures, necessary documentation and the number of decisions regarding property and asset division, child custody and other legal matters, couples often find that the simple, yet important questions (that many feel silly to ask an attorney) are left unanswered. In this article, we will answer some common questions.
What is the definition of divorce?
It is essential that couples understand what a divorce is. A divorce is defined as a legal dissolution of marriage. A divorce terminates a legal marriage, establishing that the marriage was legal in the past and has now ended.
How can a marriage be annulled?
Annulment of marriage, different from divorce, is defined as a legal process of making a marriage invalid, discarding all records of the marriage, stating the marriage never existed.
Annulment of marriage can be sought on the grounds of:
- One or both of the parties were underage at the time of marriage
- Fraudulent marriages (marriage as a shield for fraud) or committing fraud on inducement of marriage
- Familial relations between the spouses
- Lack of legal capacity like mental incompetence, impotence, senility, etc.
- Refusal or inability to consummate a marriage
What if one party does not agree to divorce?
Ideally, the spouse wanting the divorce should send a legal notice of a court hearing for divorce and present an opportunity to attend the proceedings. Divorces are often based on grounds of fault or by living separately for a specified amount of time. Neither of these requires the cooperation of both spouses. Therefore, even if one party does not agree to divorce, divorce can still be sought.
However, the divorcing party should provide proof of legal process initiation, that is, proof of sufficient time of notice sent and an opportunity to attend sent to the disagreeing party. If this proof of legal process cannot be provided, according to law, the court cannot allow the divorce proceedings, including presenting evidence for divorce, custody issues, spousal support, child support, property division, etc. to proceed. With the proof of legal process provided, the court decides all divorce-related issues. Moreover, the disagreeing party forfeits the right to present countering evidence and the court can present a final divorce order without the consent, signature or participation of the disagreeing party.
What to do if one party does not want to get divorced, and wants to stop the divorce process and wait for the spouse to relent?
Delaying a divorce is possible, however, it is rare that one can entirely stop a divorce. In such cases, a disagreeing spouse can drag the process by refusing to accept the service of divorce papers, refusing to sign a divorce decree or claim that the marriage can be saved. In such cases, the court may prescribe marital counseling to try and repair the marriage.
Can one shorten a divorce process?
All divorce cases are different and the length of the divorce process depends on many factors like the cooperation of both parties, complexities of the case, how soon both parties can reach an agreement, and factors like division of property and assets, child custody, attorney fees, etc.
However, a divorce can be acquired faster if both parties enter into a comprehensive agreement on the issues that comprise a family law case.
St. Louis, Missouri Divorce Attorney
Hundreds of questions come to mind as the stark reality of divorce settles in. As a firm, our goal is to help you find the answers to those questions and to begin the next phase of your life with as much ease as possible. We are dedicated to providing our clients and their families with kind, personalized, and professional legal representation throughout the entire divorce process.
Call The Betz Law Firm today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online contact form.