Why It's Important to Understand That a Divorce Is a Lawsuit

Divorce has become a normal-enough process in the modern world. However, a divorce attorney will tell you that the process is still a lawsuit at its core. If you are facing a future divorce, read on to learn about five of the biggest implications of this process. 

One Partner Has to Sue the Other

Just like in any other lawsuit, a divorce starts when one person petitions the court for relief. In this instance, the petitioning party is asking for the legal end of a marriage. Regardless of how either of you feels about your marriage, either you or your ex has to put the divorce in motion legally.

This especially has implications for the responding party. When someone asks for a divorce, they have to send paperwork to both the family court and to the other partner from the marriage. That person then has a limited amount of time to respond, although there are variations in the response length based on things like being out of the country or on active-duty military service.

Adversarial Proceedings

In the eyes of the law, there are two sides that are at odds with each other. Although the family law system in America emphasizes things like the best interests of any children the couple has and the equitable distribution of marital assets, both ex-partners are still legal opponents. If you pay for divorce law services, for example, your attorney can't legally provide any advice to your ex. Any ex who wants advice needs to pay for their own counsel.

Court Orders

Particularly in the early days of a divorce, it's common for a court to enter a series of orders. For example, a couple with a child will likely be subject to some sort of support order. The same may apply to spousal support.


If both sides elect to negotiate a solution, the eventual result will be a settlement just like in any other lawsuit. Your divorce law attorney will send paperwork to the family court explaining what the settlement is regarding things like child custody and support, spousal support, and the division of assets and liabilities. A judge will review the settlement. Unless there are questions about the fairness of the settlement, the judge will approve it and your divorce will be final.


When the two sides can't reach an agreement, the matter can go to trial. Bear in mind, though, a judge will strongly encourage you to reach an agreement. Trials are reserved for major issues, such as fraudulently hiding marital assets.

For more insight on this process, contact divorce law services.