Navigating the Split: A Comprehensive Legal Guide to Divorce

A divorce is one of the most difficult events in life. Even if both parties are 100 percent in agreement and things are as amiable as possible, there are still a million things that will most likely change course at once. One of these changes is the estate plan, a document that sets out who will manage your assets and affairs after you die. It is important to review this document during a divorce or shortly after, to ensure that it still aligns with your needs and goals.

To get started, you will need to file a petition for divorce in court. You will need to provide basic information about your marriage and give a reason for the dissolution. Most states offer both at-fault and no-fault grounds for divorce, including adultery, physical or emotional abuse, infertility, criminal convictions, drug addiction and more. Some states also require a period of separation before filing for divorce.

Once the court accepts your petition, a 120-day waiting period begins during which you are prohibited from remarrying. Your lawyer will work with you to decide the best way to resolve issues related to property division, child custody and support. This may involve mediation, negotiation and, if necessary, a trial before a judge.

During this time, it is essential to focus on self-care and nurture your well-being. Practicing healthy coping techniques and seeking outside support from friends and family can help you stay grounded as you move through the process. It is also important to create future goals and identify activities that can provide meaning and purpose.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding a divorce settlement, you will need to go to trial. During this process, you will need to provide evidence about your financial situation to the judge and present arguments for why you want certain outcomes related to property division, child custody and support. The judge will ultimately issue court orders that will finalize your divorce.

The Law Library of Congress offers many resources to assist with legal research on divorce. Start with our collection of treatises, which include both national and state-specific titles. For example, you can find Minnesota Family Law Practice Manual, 3rd ed., which discusses and explains the law while pointing you to statutes and leading cases. Then, use our subject headings to search for materials by topic. For example, to look for treatises on divorce and property division, type “divorce” into the subject search box of our catalog and select “all fields.” The results page will show you all titles that match your criteria.