The process of getting divorced begins when somebody files a legal petition for divorce, sometimes called a "complaint for dissolution of marriage." After it's been filed, the complaint is served to the spouse. Unless it's coming as a surprise to someone, it's likely you've already physically separated prior to filing. While you're separated and after the complaint has been served, the one who has been served needs to respond to the complaint. The response is also a legal filing with the court. Once there's a response, there will be a temporary hearing, sometimes called a motion, which will make decisions as to alimony, child custody, who gets to live in the house, use the cars, etc. These are temporary decisions, as they are all subject to a final divorce agreement. Then comes the phase where you try to hash out the settlement. If you can't come to a divorce agreement, then you go to trial. The trial will end with the judge deciding the issue of the divorce agreement for you.
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