How does the divorce court proceed?

Recommendations on how to speak correctly in court during a divorce with a husband and wife

The approximate procedure for dissolving a marriage in court is as follows:

  1. One of the spouses makes a claim and sends it to the court at the place of their permanent registration or the residence of the defendant. When the application is accepted, the date of the first meeting (not earlier than one month after the application).
  2. At the first meeting, the judge will learn the attitude of the spouses to the dissolution of the marriage, the reasons, the possibility of preserving the family. If both spouses agree to divorce and if they have no disputes about property or children, the claim should be granted. But if the husband/wife does not want to separate, they will be given a probationary period, upon the completion of which, if there is no improvement in the relationship, the court will decide on the divorce.
  3. The judge will issue an order of dissolution of marriage and, after 30 days, the document will be sent to the registry office. The spouses receive the divorce papers.

If both parties involved in the dissolution of the marital union do not show up for the process, they are considered to have decided to preserve the relationship. When one of the spouses fails to show up, the hearing is postponed.


To avoid embarrassing moments and not prolong the court proceedings, it is worth preparing for the case in advance:

  • Figure out the other party’s attitude toward the divorce;
  • decide with whom will remain minor children;
  • agree on alimony payments and division of jointly acquired property.
  • passport and copies of all pages;
  • Certificates of marriage and birth of children (about adoption, if there was such a fact);
  • Documents about the property of the spouses, if there are disputed points about the things and real estate;
  • certificate of income;
  • certificate of family composition;
  • a receipt of payment of state duty.

The judge is obliged to consider all the circumstances of the divorce, the survey will be based on the statement of claim. Therefore, the document must be compiled correctly in 2 copies.

In the lawsuit formulate the following requests:

  • To issue an order of divorce;
  • resolve issues regarding joint property;
  • Determine the points regarding the residence of children and the payment of alimony.

How to behave properly?

In order not to displease the judge, it is worth observing the rules of conduct:

  1. Calm, confident behavior, restraint.
  2. Do not interrupt the representative of the law, as well as participants in the process.
  3. Justify all allegations with the evidence base.

What you can say

For the process to go quickly and without unnecessary disputes and worries, it is worth to answer only to the questions of the representative of the law and limit the statements

  • About the current financial situation (availability of income, loans, etc.);
  • On the desire to raise and bring up a child;
  • About alimony.

What you should not say

Issues not worth bringing up in the courtroom:

  • Partners’ sex lives;
  • Lack of common interests, goals;
  • domestic trifles;
  • psychological immaturity to the marriage;
  • attitude of relatives to the spouse.

These topics not only cause unnecessary conflicts at the meeting, but also are not sufficient grounds for the dissolution of the marriage.

Behavior in the presence of children

Older children, who may have a hard time accepting their parents’ divorce, are invited to court. They will be uncomfortable hearing the small details of Mom and Dad’s relationship, and public scandals can cause stress to the child or even arouse hatred for both parties. Therefore, parents should behave correctly and with dignity to try to maintain a normal relationship with their loved ones.

What questions are asked

The most common questions a legal representative is asked are the standard questions:

The reason for the termination of the relationship?

Motives can be divided into the following groups:

  1. Personal reasons: lack of affection, coldness in the relationship, loss of a sense of mutual love (Article 1 of the Family Code indicates that the family is built on a sense of mutual love).
  2. Acute domestic problems: alcoholism, drug addiction of the spouse, beatings or other forms of violence against family members.
  3. Disagreements in the financial sphere: the wife or husband’s long absence of work without trying to find one (while not helping with the children, in the house); one spouse’s expenses only for themselves, which negatively affects family members; lack of material support in child rearing (Article 89 of the Family Code).
  4. Adultery.

If both parties agree to divorce, the reason for the divorce in the statement of claim may not indicate.

Does the second spouse agree to grant a divorce?

If the husband or wife does not agree to the dissolution of the marital union, a period of time (usually 3 months) is set for a final decision. If at the second meeting, the parties do not change their positions, the court declares that further life between the spouses is impossible, and the marriage is ended (Article 22 of the Family Code).

With whom will live the children after the divorce?

Traditionally, it is customary for underage children to leave their mothers after a divorce, and for the father to pay child support. However, some circumstances may influence the decision:

  • The opinion of the parents (not all mothers want to raise their children);
  • the wish of the child (a citizen over the age of 10 years has a say in the matter);
  • the relationship in the family;
  • the financial situation of each of the divorcing spouses;
  • Lifestyle of the parents (work, hobbies, etc.).

The amount and procedure for paying alimony?

There are two ways of paying alimony: a fixed amount or percentage of the income of the parent (one child is paid 1/4 of the earnings) (art. 104 of the Family Code). Alimony obligation to be paid monthly or on a one-time basis with an indication of the interval of payments.

The division of jointly acquired property?

The General practice – the division of property acquired during the marriage into two equal shares in the absence of a marriage contract (Article 36 of the UK RF). Not only common property, but also debt obligations are divided into parts. If the partners have come to an agreement, the division is also possible in other proportions, up to complete transfer of property only one spouse.

If the couple have a child, the process is complicated by the fact that the property of the children is not divided, and the court must correctly determine what is due to each family member, based on the evidence presented (Article 38 of the Family Code).

In the absence of an agreement between the husband and wife, property disputes are resolved according to the principle of the adversarial proceedings (article 12 of the Civil Procedural Code). This means that the requirements of the party, which will provide more powerful evidence of his right.

What is asked and what to say in court in the dissolution of marriage

Dissolution of marriage in court requires the divorcing spouses to prepare carefully. This applies not only to collecting and drawing up the necessary documents. It is also important to develop a line of conduct during the sessions, so as not to insult the court, not to lose respect for themselves, not to shock the children and not give them a reason to disrespect their parents.


In this article, we will tell you how the dissolution of marriage in court takes place, what is a pre-trial conversation and how to prepare for it, how to behave correctly at the hearing in a divorce, what questions the judge can ask during the divorce process and how to answer them.

How does the dissolution of marriage in court

The general scheme of conducting a judicial divorce involves three stages. First, the plaintiff (the initiator of the divorce) prepares a statement of claim. It often includes not only a request for divorce, but also other requirements.

What items may include a lawsuit for divorce :

  • Determining the amount of child support and/or the disabled spouse;
  • determination of the place of residence of the children – with which of the parents they remain;
  • division of property.

Practically court proceedings on several issues can delay the issuance of a final decision, so specialists in family law recommend not to group their demands in one statement, and to make on each disputed issue of a separate claim.

The claim for divorce with supporting documents, the plaintiff sends to the court at the place of residence of the defendant or his domicile. The court will set a date for the first hearing if the petition is filed correctly. In normal practice, the waiting period for the first court hearing is from 1 to 3 months.

The second stage – the meeting of the court. During this the judge asks the couple about their attitude towards the divorce, what the reasons are, and whether it is possible to save the marriage. If the husband and wife agree to divorce and they have no disputes about the further upbringing and maintenance of children, property requirements are mutually satisfied, the court shall satisfy the claim.

When one of the spouses does not agree to the divorce, the court sets a period of reconciliation in order to restore family relations. If no reconciliation occurs after the proposed time, the court decides on the divorce in a regular session.

The third stage is the issuance of a court order for the dissolution of the marriage. It will be sent to the registry office to register the divorce 30 days after the final meeting. This period is given in case one of the parties decides to appeal.

Pre-trial Interview in Divorce: What’s Asked

The preparation of a divorce case for court is regulated by article 14 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation. One of its important stages is a pre-trial conversation (or preliminary hearing) with the spouses. During the hearing the judge specifies the details of the forthcoming proceedings and determines the legal framework of the process.

What does the judge determine during the pretrial hearing :

  • What are the circumstances of the decision to divorce;
  • whether there are legal grounds for dissolving the marriage;
  • Who additionally will be involved in the proceedings.

Pay attention! The content of the pre-trial interview is of a private nature and is not recorded in the protocol.

During the preliminary hearing, the divorcing spouses file motions, such as for a court hearing without their presence, presenting the originals and copies of additional documents, presenting objections, etc. The judge in the presence of the spouses clarifies the claims, chooses the best option for their consideration – in one or more court proceedings.

Not often, but it happens that a conversation with the judge about the problems of family relationships leads to a reconciliation of the spouses. In such cases, the case is closed as early as the preparation stage, if the plaintiff waives the claims in writing.

The preliminary conversation usually lasts 20-30 minutes. Its main purpose is to determine how firm the couple are in their desire to divorce. During the conversation, the claims and their validity are clarified.

Questions the judge may ask :

  1. What are the reasons and circumstances of the divorce, the reasoning behind the plaintiff’s position, the defendant’s attitude toward the divorce.
  2. With whom will live minor children after the divorce.
  3. Participation of the parties in the upbringing and maintenance of children.
  4. How to divide jointly acquired property.

Pay attention! If the issues of property, education and maintenance of children resolved peacefully and confirmed by a notarized agreement, the judge will not be interested in the reasons why the spouses decided to divorce.

What can be said and what not to say

As a rule, neither of the parties, who appeared in court for the dissolution of the marriage, does not have a desire to drag out an unpleasant process to infinity. So it is worth listening to the advice of lawyers, as well as those who have already gone through the procedure of a court divorce about what you can say and what you can not.

What you can say :

  • financial situation at the time of the divorce – the income of both parties, the availability of loans, who is registered in;
  • desire to raise children, to participate in their lives;
  • alimony – the amount, order of payment, the share of additional expenses.

Important! Do not talk long and emotional. It is enough to answer the questions of the court succinctly on the merits, to give convincing evidence. Interrupt the judge or other participants in the process – a sign of bad form, the judge may remove from the hall intemperate or aggressive spouse.

There are topics that may look like grounds for dissolution of marriage only on the surface. But practice shows that they often become a cause for conflict in court, and therefore they should not be addressed.

What should not be discussed in court :

  • Sexual relationships;
  • lack of common interests;
  • ambiguity or lack of common goals;
  • household habits of secondary importance;
  • Psychological, moral immaturity for a full marriage relationship;
  • the attitude of friends and relatives toward the second spouse.

The courtroom is no place for squabbles and mutual accusations of not conforming to the ideal. A calm, confident demeanor works more convincingly in court than a stream of insults. Especially consider your behavior and speech in front of the court if witnesses or children will be involved.

Behavior in the presence of children

Parents’ divorce is a world-shattering experience for children, no matter what age they are. Being present during the dissolution of the marriage has a traumatic effect on their psyche. If the parents begin to reproach each other again, quarrel, yell, the child may develop a persistent negative attitude towards both of them. Restrained, correct behavior of the divorcing spouses, respectful attitude towards each other – the main rule of conduct of parents in the courtroom, if the session is invited to the minors.

What questions the judge asks during the divorce proceedings

The questions the judge asks the divorcing parents during the divorce proceedings are not much different from the pre-divorce conversation. But in this case, the questions and answers are recorded in the record.

Let’s take a look at the standard questions the judge asks during the divorce proceedings.

What is the reason for the dissolution of the relationship?

This is always the first question, and it must be answered clearly and unambiguously. The court will take into account various reasons, if they are expressed in detail, but not lengthy. In some cases it is advisable to support these with documents or testimonies.

The court will accept without reservation what are the reasons for divorce:

  1. Personal reasons. These include lack of affection, coldness in the relationship, etc. According to article 1 of the Russian Federation Family code, the family is built on the basis of mutual love, therefore, stable cold relations is a reason for termination of the family union.
  2. Acute problems of everyday life. It’s not about salted borscht or scattered socks. Alcohol or drug addiction of one of the spouses, aggression, beatings, humiliation of the second spouse or other family members – these reasons will encourage the court more quickly to grant the suit for dissolution of marriage.
  3. Failure to comply with the obligations of mutual maintenance of the spouses (art. 89 of the Family Code). Long absence of work of one of the spouses with a simultaneous unwillingness to get a job and refusal to help in the household, spending money one of the spouses only for himself, etc. are sufficient grounds for divorce.
  4. Adultery.

Please note! If both spouses have expressed their desire to end the marriage, there is no need to state in court the reason for such a decision.

Does the other spouse consent to the divorce?

When the husband or wife does not consent to the divorce, they are given 3 months to reconcile. If by the second hearing they have not changed their position, the court decides that it is impossible for them to live together any longer and dissolves the marriage in accordance with Article 22 of the Family Code.

Who will the children live with after the divorce?

Usually after a divorce, minor children stay with their mother. But recent practice shows that the court is taking the father’s side more often.

To make a decision, the court considers which parent can provide better living conditions for their children, both financially and morally. The court also considers how much time the parents have available to their children. The interests of the heirs and their attachment to the father or mother are also taken into consideration.

How and in what amount will alimony be paid?

It is desirable that this issue was resolved before the start of the proceedings. The law provides for two payment options: a fixed amount or a percentage of income. It is also necessary to find out which of the parents and in what proportions will pay the costs of additional education.

How will the jointly acquired property be divided?

Normally, jointly acquired property in a divorce is divided between the spouses in half. However, there are often situations where expensive items or an apartment was bought with the financial support of relatives of the spouses, or was a gift to any of them. In this case, the court will need documentation to support the facts stated. Only after reviewing all of the details will the court make a final decision in accordance with the principle of equity and fairness.

Before making a decision to dissolve a marriage, the courts always listen carefully to the views of both parties on the designated issues. Therefore, spouses in a divorce need not only gather documents, but also prepare answers to the questions they will be asked. You can even prepare a kind of “speech for the court” during the divorce and even rehearse it. Then it will be easier to keep your composure and dignity at the hearing.

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