The first things you will need in order to file for a divorce are the proper forms applicable to the county or state you live in. Every state in the nation has its own specific rules, requirements, and paperwork concerning divorce. Even though the divorce documents for many states are basically similar, your paperwork will not be accepted by the County Clerk’s Office if they are not the correct documents or are not completed correctly for the specific jurisdiction in which you are filing. Like divorce laws themselves, the paperwork of divorce is state, and sometimes county, specific.
If you are living in a no fault divorce state and you have a basic understanding of the elements of a divorce, you can try your hand at preparing your own divorce filing forms with the assistance of an online divorce form service. If you are clueless about divorce procedure or are facing a nasty contest in court, your interests would best be served by having a divorce attorney help you prepare your divorce filing forms. You do not absolutely have to have an attorney to complete the paperwork though. Online divorce services and as well as any hard copy forms you might receive by mail will both supply clear instructions on when, where and how to file your forms so they are legal and comply with the particular requirements of the jurisdiction you live in. Some states have mandatory waiting periods of various lengths before the divorce decree becomes effective after the papers have been filed with the court. You should find out if any statutory waiting periods apply to your case and adjust accordingly.
Your filing work is not complete until you have served your spouse with a copy of the divorce petition and can prove the papers were accepted. If you are on decent terms with your spouse, you might be able to serve the papers yourself. If you can’t obtain proof of service by yourself you will need to enlist the aid of a third party service. Proof of divorce summons service can be obtained by Certified and Return Receipt Requested mail or by direct contact using a Sheriff or professional process server. If all standard methods of service fail, the court may allow service by publication of a notice of the divorce petition in a local newspaper for a specified length of time. If you cannot show proof of service of the divorce petition in court, it will delay or even halt the processing of your divorce.
Divorce Filing Tips for No Fault Divorce
- Both parties agree to end the marriage.
- Obtain financial statements from both parties in the divorce.
- The divorce petition is accompanied with a completed Consent, Appearance & Waiver form.
- Both parties agree to and sign Child Custody Jurisdiction forms.
- All paperwork is signed in front of a Notary Public.
- Both parties agree to and sign a Settlement Agreement that specifies each spouse’s rights and the terms of agreements concerning property, children and support.
The Settlement Agreement will specify disposition of:
- Child support
- Property division including:
- Real estate
- Household property
- Bank accounts