No Fault Filing

Aug 8, 2012 by

Now that all 50 states have adopted no fault divorce laws a growing number of unhappy couples are choosing to skip the battles in court and file the papers for their own mutually agreed, uncontested divorce.

Obviously, one of the first things you will need to do is to obtain the proper forms and documents applicable to the county or state you live in. Each state in the nation has its own specific rules, requirements, and paperwork required to complete a divorce. Although the divorce documents from different states may appear to be similar, like divorce laws, the paperwork of divorce is also state, and sometimes county, specific and 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.

If you have a basic understanding of the elements of a divorce, you can prepare your own divorce filing forms with a bit of assistance from an online divorce form service. People with large estates to split or those facing a bitter court battle might want to consider hiring a divorce attorney to help prepare their divorce filing forms, as things can get a bit complicated when there are extenuating circumstances or children involved in the split. You are not required to have an attorney to complete your paperwork though, as most good online divorce services will 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 reside in.

Different states have different mandatory waiting periods before the divorce decree becomes effective after the papers have been filed with the court.  It is your responsibility to find out if any statutory waiting periods apply to your case and adjust accordingly.

Regardless of the jurisdiction you live in, you will always have to serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce petition and you will also have to prove the papers were accepted. People who are on good terms with their spouses may be able to serve the papers by themselves.  In cases where you cannot obtain proof of service by yourself you will need to involve a third party service. Obtaining proof of service by Certified and Return Receipt Requested mail or by direct contact using a Sheriff or professional process server are among the most popular methods used today. If all other standard methods of service fail, the court can permit service by publication of a notice of the divorce petition in a local newspaper for a specified length of time. Proof of service is always required and if you cannot show proof, it can delay or even halt the processing of your divorce.

Keep in mind that a no fault filing means that both parties mutually agree to end the marriage and that the divorce petition will need to be accompanied with a completed Consent, Appearance & Waiver form. Both parties will furnish financial disclosure statements and all papers should be signed in front of a Notary Public.

Both spouses will need to agree to and sign a Settlement Agreement that specifies the rights of each and the terms of any agreements concerning property and debt division, child custody and support, as well as any spousal support if applicable. The Settlement Agreement will also cover disposition of all issues concerning assets and debts, as well as taxes, vehicles, real estate and investment and retirement accounts. The paperwork requirements for filing a no fault divorce are not exactly trivial or simple, but they aren’t so complicated that the average person cannot get the job done by themselves either.


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