Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps involved in getting a divorce?

Only a few steps are involved in obtaining a final Dissolution of Marriage. How long these steps take—and whether or not the process must proceed to mediation or trial—depends on the degree of amicability between both parties, the complexity of assets that must be divided and the level of agreement that exists regarding such matters as child custody and visitation.

  • Your attorneys prepare the initial paperwork, which must be served on and signed by your spouse.

    At Wayne & Jemilo, we file legal documents and either use an official server (sheriff / special process) or mail a letter to your spouse to advise that a dissolution, paternity, or post-dissolution action has been filed.

  • At this point, your spouse retains an attorney, if he or she has not already done so.

  • After your spouse either obtains counsel or decides to proceed pro se (representing himself/herself), we conduct a process of discovery, which includes obtaining financial documents and may or may not involve depositions of the parties in order to determine each individual's financial situation, which will be used to allocate assets.

  • If custody of minor children is not agreed upon, a 604(b) psychological evaluation (ordered by the court) or a 604.5 psychological evaluation (on behalf of a single party) may be conducted. This involves observations of each parent with the child(ren), interviews with the parents, children, and other important persons, review of documents, and possibly psychological testing. These reports and the testimony offered by the evaluator at trial could be important factors in custody and visitation decisions.

  • Whether through their attorneys or on their own, the parties involved can often reach an agreement without proceeding to a trial. If an agreement is reached, it is incorporated into a document entitled "Marital Settlement Agreement." That document becomes part of the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage that is entered on the final court date, referred to as the Prove-Up date.

  • If disputed issues still remain after discovery is completed, a Pre-Trial Conference is conducted with the judge. For this conference, both parties draft a Pre-Trial Memorandum, which summarizes their positions. The judge may offer an opinion on the case that will assist the parties to settle the case. If the parties cannot settle after a Pre-Trial Conference, the case is set for trial.

  • When you and your spouse cannot settle the case, you will proceed to a trial. You may both testify, and call other witnesses, such as business evaluators, neighbors, or teachers who will testify in support of your position. A trial can last a few hours or a few months. After the trial is completed, the judge makes a decision.

  • At the end of the case, whether or not it proceeded to trial, a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage is entered. If you settled your case before trial, this Judgment amounts to an agreement between the parties dissolving their marriage and includes a Marital Settlement Agreement and a Custody Judgment (if applicable). For these settlements, a special day called a "Prove-Up" is arranged in court where both parties appear and state under oath that they understand and will adhere to the terms of the Judgment.

    If your case proceeded to trial, once the trial is completed, you will receive only a Judgment outlining the judge's conclusions and orders as to all issues in your case. After the entry of a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, you will be legally divorced from your spouse.