A Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating Divorce Proceedings

A Step-by-Step Guide to Navigating Divorce Proceedings

July 15, 2023

By FairWell Family Law Mediation

Getting a divorce can be confusing and stressful. Check out this step-by-step guide to navigating divorce proceedings that will help you through the process.

No one imagines when they get married that they would one day get a divorce. But even so, such eventualities might come to pass.

If that does happen to you, the best way to deal with divorce proceedings is to make it as smooth as possible for both parties. There’s no need to make things ugly so you are fighting over pennies or over each item in your household.

In the article below, we share with you some steps to follow when filing for divorce.

Educate Yourself

The first step in navigating divorce proceedings is to educate yourself about the laws and regulations governing divorce in your jurisdiction. Familiarize yourself with the legal terminology, the different types of divorce, and the basic rights and responsibilities of each party involved.

Consider consulting with a family law attorney to understand the specifics of your situation. And to gain expert advice tailored to your needs.

Gather Essential Documents

To ensure a smooth divorce process, gather and organize all relevant documents pertaining to your marriage, assets, debts, and financial statements. This includes:

  • Marriage certificates
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Property deeds
  • Child custody papers
  • Any other shared assets in question

Keep multiple copies of these documents for future reference. Share them all with your lawyers if you have already hired them.

Establish Priorities and Set Realistic Goals

Take the time to reflect on your priorities and goals for the divorce. If possible, do this together with your partner, because then you will be able to come to a more suitable arrangement for both sides.

Determine what matters most to you both in terms of child custody, asset division, and financial support.

Setting realistic expectations will help you make informed decisions and negotiate more effectively during the divorce process. Remember that compromise and flexibility may be necessary for a satisfactory resolution.

There’s no need to get stuck on one way of doing things and imagine that it’s the only path to choose. The more open-minded you can remain to several different end options, the easier it will be for you to find terms that works for everyone.

Consult With a Divorce Attorney

Choose your divorce lawyer carefully. You don’t want to pick someone who’s just out to get the biggest divorce settlement for you, without any consideration for relationships or minimizing mental anguish.

Choose an experienced attorney, one with a good track record, and someone who has a lot of empathy and compassion for both parties, not just for one side.

Explain to them that you are looking to get a smooth divorce, without too much bickering back and forth. This will help them understand that mediation or compromise is key rather than getting the biggest settlement.

Constantly discuss your priorities and goals with the attorney so they are on the same page as you.


If you know that both parties are going to have a hard time finding a reasonable solution in the divorce, then you will want to hire a mediation service. This is crucial if you wish to come to a fair divorce without an ugly court battle that drags on forever and ruins time, resources, and mental health for everyone involved.

An objective third-party mediation service will see things clearly and allow you to settle in a way that suits both sides, without leaning too much toward one side or another.

In most cases, mediation will work suitably to find a great solution and settle the divorce in a way that helps give everyone proper closure.

Sometimes, though, mediation isn’t enough and litigation might be necessary.

Filing the Petition and Serving the Partner

When you are officially ready to start the divorce proceedings, you will serve your partner using your divorce attorney’s help.

This divorce petition will outline your desired outcome for the divorce and all the different settlement options you have already spoken about.

Ensure you keep everyone in the loop during this time so you can come to a reasonable conclusion that suits all parties.

Negotiation and Settlement

Once the divorce process is underway, both parties will exchange information, negotiate, and attempt to reach a settlement agreement. This involves discussing various aspects such as property division, child custody, visitation rights, and spousal support.

Stay patient during this process and keep your temper. Remember that you wish for a smooth divorce and that can only happen if you keep a cool head.

Court Proceedings

In most cases, a settlement is reached before getting to a court trial. If it cannot be reached though, the case will proceed to trial.

Each party will present their arguments and evidence before a judge who will make decisions on unresolved issues. It is essential to have proper legal representation during court proceedings to effectively present your case.

Your divorce attorney will prep you on the questions that will get asked and teach you how the trial will proceed. And in general, guide you so you can reach a successful conclusion.

Finalizing the Divorce

Once all issues have been resolved, the court will issue a divorce decree, which formally terminates the marriage. The decree will outline the terms of the divorce, including child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony and asset division.

It is crucial to review this document carefully with your attorney to ensure it accurately reflects the agreed-upon terms. If something is amiss or not according to your priorities and goals, then you can discuss it with your attorney and go through an appeal process.

Garner the Smoothest Divorce Proceedings for Yourself

Hopefully though, you won’t even have to work through to the last step in the process mentioned above. The mediation should have worked well enough for you resulting in satisfactory divorce proceedings.

If you are located in Minnesota and searching for a family mediation service, please contact us. We wish to help you achieve a smooth and fair divorce settlement.


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