Divorce Timeline: What to Expect

Having a general overview of the divorce timeline can help you get an idea of what to expect from the divorce process. It can be overwhelming when you first begin looking at all of the steps that you’ll need to take. However, having an experienced attorney by your side can help you through the process. Deciding to get a divorce is the first step you’ll take. After that, you and your spouse will each prepare for the divorce separately. Then you’ll move to the negotiations stage of the process. This is where things can get quite complicated and can take much longer or shorter than you expect. And finally, you’ll settle your divorce and everything will be finalized. Hopefully, the process will be as stress-free and easy as possible with the help of your attorney.

Divorce Timeline: What to Expect When You Are Going Through the Divorce Process

Deciding to Divorce

The first step in the divorce timeline is you and your spouse deciding that you want a divorce. You might come to this conclusion together or one partner might surprise the other with a divorce. However you come to the decision, you’ll both want to go ahead and hire legal representation. Your attorney will fight for your interests in court and will provide you with all of their legal expertise to make sure that you are content with your settlement. One of you will need to file a legal divorce petition, serve it to the other, and file it with the courthouse.

Preparing for Divorce

The next step in the divorce timeline is for each of you to prepare for the divorce proceedings. You’ll each have to gather paperwork about your financial situation, your assets, debts, and many other documents. You can also request documents from your spouse as well. In most states, you’ll attempt to go to mediation before going to a full trial.


Negotiations are probably the most stressful part of the divorce timeline. You and your partner will discuss how to split up your assets and make many other decisions. If you can come to agreements in mediation, you’ll come up with a divorce settlement and file it with the courthouse. If you are not able to agree, your case will go to trial.


The final step in the divorce timeline is a settlement. If you and your partner end up having to go to trial, then the court will decide how your case will be settled. They will issue a legal divorce decree that outlines each of your duties and the terms of the divorce. If either party is still in disagreement, they can appeal some of the judgment. If both parties agree to this then your divorce is final and you can begin moving on. It’s time to legally change your name and begin the process of healing.

The divorce timeline can seem a little overwhelming when you first begin looking into it. However, an experienced attorney can make the process seem much more manageable. They will walk you through each step so that you are getting the best settlement possible. You’ll begin the process when you decide officially that you’d like to file for divorce. After this, you and your spouse will prepare documents and then move towards mediation. Hopefully, you can settle here, but if not you’ll continue negotiations at trial. And finally, the court will settle your divorce and issue a decree that spells out the terms of your divorce. After this, you can begin to move on and heal from the process. Hopefully, you and your attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement that you and your spouse are both happy with.

A Different Divorce: How Same-Sex Divorce Differs 

A divorce is a divorce. It doesn’t matter the sex of the parties; a divorce will always feel the same. This is a time of loss, hardship, and moving into a new stage of life. Typically, most couples know what to expect of a divorce. From court proceedings, custody battles, mediation, and so forth. All in all, a divorce is pretty standard procedure. But, in some ways, for a same-sex couple, it’s a different divorce than most…

A Different Divorce: How Same-Sex Divorce Differs

There are a few ways that a same-sex divorce is different than a heterosexual divorce. However, in most ways, it’s completely the same. There’s anger, grief, guilt, remorse, relief… a whole range of emotions. When it comes to the emotional side of divorce, there’s ultimately no difference in how you feel and everyone else feels. Furthermore, you’ll go through the same one and dance as every other married couple. From custody agreements, property division, debt division, spousal support, and so forth. However, there are a few areas that can be a bit more difficult to deal with…

Custody Problems for Non-Biological Parents

One of the most difficult issues for same-sex couples is that of custody. All things considered, that child is both yours, and your spouses. However, being that the court system is still a little behind the curve when it comes to custody in same-sex marriage, the biological parent will have a huge advantage in terms of custody. That is, unless the non-bio parent has legally adopted the child. In that case, you will bot h have legal rights to the child. But, unfortunately, most couples just don’t think to take that measure until it’s too late.

Same-sex Couples Tend to Have Property Issues

As you likely know, gay marriage was not legal country-wide until a few years ago. Therefore, most everyone in a same-sex relationship had to carry on as if they were married, without the legal document to say so. Therefore, if you’ve been together for much longer than you’ve been married— you likely have assets, property, a mortgage, and so forth, that you’ve treated as marital property. However, because it was all acquired outside of the marriage, a judge will not be able to help you divide it all up. While this issue is alive and well for both heterosexual and same-sex couples, it can become quite an issue for long time same-sex couples who’ve built a lot of life and assets together.

Your divorce is just like any other, but there are a few more bumps in the road…

Every divorce will vary in a few different ways. Whether it be a lot of property to divide, medical bills, child custody, or any other factor. But, there are no two proceedings that go the same way. So, while you have a different divorce on your hands, it’s nothing a divorce attorney won’t be able to help you sort through.

Collaborative Divorce: The Perfect Choice for Collaborative Couples 

In terms of divorce settlements, and different ways to get there— there are plenty of options. As anyone who has gone through a divorce knows, they can go sour quite quickly. But, that is not always the case. In many divorces, both parties will agree that they want to make it through this with their dignity, and sanity intact. If you and your to-be former spouse have agreed to this, then a collaborative divorce might be right up your alley.

Collaborative Divorce for Collaborative Couples: A Smart, Cost-Effective Option

What Is It?

In general, many divorces take place without ever going to court. But even then, they may have to undergo long litigation and mediation in order to get the result you want. When this happens, things often get ugly and cause more tension between and your ex. As a result, this process can have a huge impact on the emotional state of children involved in the divorce.

So to avoid these problems, some people choose to seek out a collaborative divorce. This type of divorce takes place when a couple agrees to seek a civilized divorce and to forego the process of court. Therefore, all negotiations are made between both parties, and their respective lawyers without going before a judge. This option gives you both more control. However, it can be difficult when one, or both, parties are not cooperating.

How Does it Work?

Before beginning the process, both parties will each hire their own collaborative attorney. Then, all members of each party will sign a Participation Agreement. By signing this document, all signees agree to offering up full disclosure throughout the process. That means information and details regarding all finances and any other important matters to settle. It also states that the two will settle the matters outside of court and that all things will remain confidential about the case.

While most cases just include collaborative attorneys, some cases may hire other professionals as well.

This could include financial advisors or child psychologist. If these members come on board, they will also need to sign the Participation Agreement.

After that, you can begin the process of settling important agreements like child or spousal support. This process should also settle custody agreements, as well as dividing property and other assets. The major difference with a collaborative divorce is that it is not about who wins or loses. Instead, this type of divorce wants to split things fairly, while also keeping peace between spouses.

No matter how you decide to proceed with your divorce, if you have kids involved, you will still have to deal with your ex. So a collaborative divorce works to keep things civil. That way, you can continue working peacefully together in the future.

Marital and Non-Marital Property: How Do We Divide?

A common question people ask in divorce cases, is how the court divides property between the spouses. Ultimately, this depends on a few different things. To begin, SC follows Equitable Distribution laws. This means that property is divided in a fair and equitable way. However, fair doesn’t always mean equal. The courts will consider many factors in deciding how to divide property. One of the most important, is whether the property is marital or non-marital.

Marital and Non-Marital Property: How Do We Divide?

First things first, what is marital and non-marital property?

SC Code Section 20-3-630 defines marital property as property acquired by the parties during the marriage. To put it simply, if you bought the property together during the marriage, it will be subject to equitable distribution at the time of divorce. It doesn’t even matter if one name versus the other is on the title. Rather, they just care about the date of purchase.

Are there exceptions?

Property a couple acquires during their marriage is marital, yes. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. These exceptions are non-marital property. Non-marital property is not subject to division. Some of these exceptions are as follows:

  • Property from an inheritance or gift from a party other than the spouse
  • Property that a written contract signed by both of the spouses excludes, such as a prenuptial agreement
  • Increase in the value of non-marital property. Unless its increase resulted from effort of the other spouse during the marriage
Can non-marital property become marital?

Sometimes property that one spouse owns before the marriage can become marital. This can happen when a spouse deposits pre-marriage money into a joint account during marriage. It can also happen through transmutation.

Transmutation is when the couple treats non-marital property as marital. This is especially common in, say, a home. One spouse might own a home before marriage. Then, during the marriage, both spouses live in the home and put money towards the mortgage, repair, and so forth. Through this process, the home becomes marital property.

Dividing property in a divorce is a hard process. It can be hard to predict how a judge will choose to divide assets. Thus, it is a common concern amongst our divorcing clients. That’s where we come in. By hiring an experienced divorce attorney, you can find someone to fight for your desired outcome— but also prepare you for different possibilities.

Gray Divorce: What it is, Why People Do it, and How it is Negative 

There are many different forms of divorce, and everyone who does it— does so on their timeline. For reasons like these, family therapists and attorneys alike find themselves using the term gray divorce to describe a a certain type of legal separation. But what exactly does this mean? And what drives people to take this route, versus an easier one? While the people taking this route often do it for selfless reasons, it can actually be quite damaging to both them, and the people around them…

Gray Divorce: What it is, Why People Do it, and How it is Negative

First things First: What is a Gray Divorce?

Well, the name is actually quite telling. A gray divorce is a divorce between two people who are later in life. These are typically empty nesters with adult children and grandchildren. These divorcees will wait until their children are grown as a means of ‘protecting them’ from the sadness that is typically associated with children of divorce.

What’s different about this type of divorce?

There are actually quite a few things about gray divorce that make it different than your standard. For starters, there is typically estate planning happening, retired parties, social security benefits, more frequent health insurance usage— and these are really just the heavy hitters.

When you retire, you have a lot more benefits coming in, and you’re likely considering pulling from your retirement account to start using that to settle down for those later years. However, when you choose to separate, all of these benefits will have to be split and reevaluated. When it comes to benefits you’ve been sharing for the majority of a lifetime, that’s no easy feat.

Estate planning, in particular

One of the most difficult aspects of gray divorce is estate planning. For starters, it should be dealt with first and foremost. Estate planning, if you’re unfamiliar, is deciding what goes where in the event of death. Often, a couple will not think to adjust their will’s. In turn, after death, their ex-spouse will have control over all assets.

There is no right time for divorce

There’s no perfect time to separate. While we understand that you were making this decision to ease your family into the idea, it can be damaging to everyone involved. Staying in an unhappy marriage is bad for your health, and it also likely shows more than you believe. No one wants to put their children through a divorce. But, sometimes putting them through that divorce is much more manageable than letting them bear witness to a lifetime of miserable parents. Your needs are important too, even when you have children. So, consider the negatives and positives before choosing to wait ten more years… We wish you luck in this difficult time, and offer our services if you might need them.

When Pup Parents Divorce: Who Takes Fido? 

More and more younger couples are holding off on having kids, even after they get married. Whether it due to age, aspirations, financial state— many couples are playing the waiting game a bit longer than they used to. There’s no harm or shame in it, and for most— it’s a well thought out decision. However, in holding off on kids, many couples will get a dog or two. Therefore, if they find themselves in a divorce situation, there’s one vital question: who takes the dog when his pup parents divorce? 


When Pup Parents Divorce: Who Takes Fido? 

Unfortunately, even though we see them as our babies, the court still considers them property. So, when it comes to a divorce, there’s no custody court for your pup. Instead, the two of you will have to find a means of splitting time, or one of you will have to split ways. 

The Animal Legal Defense Fund 

This group is working to try and alter that law just a bit. They know, just like any pet owner, that they are more than property. therefore, they aim for the courts to take into consideration who provides primary care of the animal. Who takepup parents divorces them to the vet, buys the food, socializes them, grooms them, and etc. Basically, which of the two of you bears the largest weight. If the ALDF could swing it, a dog would qualify as a separate entity— almost like a child, instead of, say, a painting or a motorcycle.

What can we do, as dog owners, to make sure we reach a solid agreement? 

I’m sure you, along with your spouse, have heard the quote: if you want something done right, do it yourself. So, when pup parents divorce, the two of you should consider crafting your agreement yourself. Maybe one of you is fully willing to part ways with the dog, or maybe neither of you are. So, you have to sit down together, as adults, and reach an agreement that suits you both. If need be, treat it like a custody agreement. Look up common paths for custody, and mirror it in a way that benefits your situation. Maybe parent 1 will take majority of time, but parent 2 gets a week out of ever month. Find something that works for you, by you. As of now, the court will be of no help when it comes to your pups.

Successful Divorce: Successfully Separating Your Heart and Mind 

There’s no easy path to take emotionally during a divorce. Sure, you have options when it comes to mediation, collaboration, and custody. But when it comes to your heart? There’s not too much bargaining to be done there. So, we’re going to help. Getting a successful divorce doesn’t just mean hitting all the marks on proceedings. Instead, it means healing emotionally, getting things done, and coming out on the other side of this just a little bit lighter. A divorce will undoubtedly be tough, but you can make the better of it in a few ways…

Successful Divorce: Successfully Separating Your Heart and Mind


Before you start healing emotionally, you need to assess the situation. What do you want from your divorce? Both emotionally, and in terms of finances and assets. You’ll need to tackle these two things in tandem, but separately. Letting your emotions cloud the proceedings, and let you make spiteful decisions— can only make matters worse, and prolong the process.

Gather Information

Next up, gather all of your information. Documents, statements, make lists of things you need and things you can part with. Getting this information together as quickly as possible, means you can focus on it less. Pull it all together, organize it, file it, and then get back to you. The sooner you handle the technical stuff, the sooner you can stop focusing on it.

Educate Yourself

The more you know, the more your mind can be at ease. Well, at least when it comes to divorce. For starters, become familiar with the process of divorce. What steps do you have to take first? Where can an attorney take over? And what do I need to watch out for and avoid? Once you have an attorney, they will explain things in further detail, but it’s good to have a foundation on your own. Then, you can ask more informed questions and get through the process more quickly because you took the time to do the research.

Pick Your Team

Decide what and who you need. Whether that be a therapist, a financial advisor, a family specialist, a custody lawyer… decide what you need and begin to put it together. You can address both physical and psychological needs at the same time here. Discover who you need in your corner on this, and rally those troops. Having every resource, even family, set in stone can really ease your mind.

Form A Plan

Think over logistics, form a plan, write things down. If you have questions? Ask them. That’s what your attorney is for, among other things. Understand that you don’t have to go at this alone, and the more planning you do— the less you have to worry about as it gets rolling. A successful divorce requires planning, and adaptability. We wish you luck as you move forward, offer our condolences at this difficult time, and offer our services if you might need them.

How-To Keep Spending Small in Your Divorce: Save Money, Time, and Heartache with These Few Steps 

There’s no denying that a divorce is quite costly to both parties involved. So, what can we do to keep spending small when it comes to our divorce? If you can find a way to save your funds, divorce each other peacefully, and keep that bad taste out of your mouth— why not do so? It may sound idealistic on our end, but it is possible to make it through a divorce without your blood pressure going through the roof. With hard work, patience, and collaboration, you might just find that you two went through a model divorce… 

How-To Keep Spending Small in Your Divorce: Save Money, Time, and Heartache with These Few Steps 

Set a timeline, and commit to it 

A divorce is all about paperwork and deadlines. From figuring out child support, splitting assets, selling your family home, and closing up shop— it can take a while to work through. So, missing a deadline can make it take even longer. You two set a meeting? Stick to it, don’t put it off for any reason. Ultimately, that attorney isn’t there on his own free will— their time costs money. Be smart, efficient, reasonable, and timely in hitting your marks and providing any materials. 

Keep it business-like and efficient 

If you can check your emotions at the door, you’ll be sure to keep spending small, or at least smaller than they might have been. Sometimes, the way that we feel tends to influence our decision making. Maybe you noticed that your soon-to-be-ex has been going out with the boys, and now you’re angry so you want to go for more. Making changes to the agreement midway through, especially out of anger, can be counterproductive. Bringing those emotions into the mix is bad news, and can inevitably add to further costs.  Do yourself a favor and save money by saving time. 

Be flexible with one another 

Have expectations and wants when it comes to assets and splitting the load. But, be realistic and flexible about it. Consider making a list; a list of what is a necessity to you, and the things you’d like to have— but can give on. Consider that even the things you feel are a necessity, aren’t guaranteed, and the more time you spend worrying over those things and not giving on them— the more money you spend. Who knows, by the end of this whole thing (if you do it right) you might be able to replace what you gave up on. 

How-to Avoid Isolating Yourself Post-Divorce

Recovering after a divorce can be very difficult. You’ve spent your past few months, or year, tearing your life up. All in all, that can make it pretty easy to fall into a slump. People process grief and loss differently, and there’s no one way that people cope. But one way that tends to show up quite often, is by isolating yourself. As we’ve said, it’s easy to fall into a slump and, in turn, separate yourself from friends and family who are still here for you. Recovery is difficult, but it’s even more difficult when you go at it alone. Those connections you had, are still there post-divorce. So, we’ve put together a list for you; a list of way to avoid isolating yourself in tough times…

How-to Avoid Isolating Yourself Post-Divorce

Maintain Close Relationships

For the most part, you might be doing the exact opposite of this because it’s easier. The people close to you want to know how you’re doing, they’ll want to rehash— make sure you’re okay. But, you might want to do the exact opposite of that. So, set some ground rules. Ultimately, these people care about you and want to help. So, tell them what they can do to help you. They’re here to do what’s best for you. Sometimes, that just needs a little bit of direction.

Be Careful Who You Confide In

On the flip side, maybe sharing is just what you need to do to get by. Just make sure you’re doing this in the right way, and with the right people. Venting on social media might feel like a good idea at the time. But, by putting your story and your feelings out into the world, you give people a chance to inject their own views, opinions, and unsolicited advice. Everyone has their own view, and when you’re going through a divorce, you might need those views. So, do what you see fit.

However, remember that what you put out to the public— is subject to all of the public. While you and your former spouse are no longer on good terms, maybe you still care about his family. So, consider that what you post might make it’s way to them as well.

Isolating yourself is the easiest option…

…but that doesn’t make it the best, or even a good option. By having a strong support group, you’ll be able to work through the emotional process of divorce. But in order to do that, you need to maintain healthful connections, and ask for what you need.

While it may feel like you don’t have the energy to invest in other relationships, they are still important, even if your marriage didn’t work out. Avoid isolating yourself because it is not your best option by any means.  Instead, surround yourself with good people, good things, and start to re-build. You have a lot of good things ahead of you…

Divorcing Without Kids: Why It’s Just As Hard

When you go through a divorce, your whole life gets uprooted. Your home, the dog, your belongings, your love life… everything changes or goes away. Going through a divorce as a parent is very tough; you have to tell your kids, split time, and do the custody shuffle. So, when someone you know is divorcing without kids, it can be easy to dismiss their struggle as less than. And sure, divorcing without children has a few particular upsides. But, it’s still a divorce, and it’s still very emotionally taxing….

Divorcing Without Kids: What Makes It just as Difficult?

When you picture a divorce as an outsider, you see kids, a house, a car, maybe a family business. but, divorce doesn’t look like that for everyone. Instead, it can really just look like two people, without much, that have fallen out of love. Maybe you haven’t gotten around to the kids yet, or maybe it was a conscious decision. But, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone in this. You might be wondering why you’re feeling so in a rut? Why people are dismissing your divorce almost as a bad breakup? And why you’ve felt so isolated…

When divorcing without kids, it can be hard to find motivation

When you have children and are going through divorce, you have to dust yourself off and get back up. You have no choice; there are little people waiting on you to carry on as normal for their sake. But, when divorcing without kids, you don’t have that same requirement. Therefore, it can be easy to fall into a hard slump. For parents, their purpose lies in their children. So, it makes it easier to feel like things will get better, and more quickly. But, that can be difficult without a motivator such as this. 

People see your pain as lesser than

Just because you don’t have kids running around, doesn’t mean your divorce wasn’t awful, and horrible, and heartbreaking. So many times, these divorcee’s will hear, “just be glad you didn’t have kids to deal with too,” and sure, that’s a valid point. Having to tell your kids, split your time, and cope with them through this would be tough— but it’s tough on your own too.

You might be worried about ever having kids now

You had your heart set on your marriage, and eventually building a family with that person. Now, you have to start all over, and you might be worried. Am I running out of time? Will I ever be a mother/father? Have I ruined my shot? This feeling can be scary, especially as you begin to age. But, you still have time and options. Worry not. 

Try to see the good in this 

You have a unique opportunity in your adult life to make a decision solely for you. Relocate, make a big change, go on a month long vacation— you have an opportunity that many don’t come by. While it’s not ideal, and doesn’t make your situation feel any lesser— try and look at the upsides of it. We’d advise any parent to do the same— look at the positives of your particular situation. We wish you luck as you move forward din this difficult times, and offer our services if you may need them.