Divorce happens quite often in the United States. Divorce rates might have declined, but they are still at the 45%-50% mark. It’s relatively high when compared to other countries that legalized divorce. With this in mind, shouldn’t it be easy to file for divorce? The answer is no, unfortunately.
There are a few things you need to do before you file for divorce. The first step is to ensure you are eligible to file for divorce in your state.
You might be wondering, what are the requirements for divorce? The answer to that question differs from state to state. In some states, you need to have a specific reason, or grounds, for getting a divorce. These grounds can range from adultery to abandonment.
Other states don’t require you to have a specific reason. Instead, these states allow you to get a no-fault divorce. This kind of divorce dictates that the marriage is over and there’s no going back. You need to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.
Working on the Papers
After you determine that you are eligible to file for divorce in your state, the next step is to start working on the papers. First, you must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
In this petition, you will include information about your marriage and any minor children from the marriage. Once you have completed the petition, you must sign it before a notary public.
After you have signed the petition, you will need to file it with the clerk’s office in your county. Once the clerk has accepted your petition, they will stamp it and return a copy to you.
You might be wondering, how do I serve divorce papers? The process of serving divorce papers varies from state to state. In some states, you can serve the documents yourself. This process is called service by publication.
If you choose this route, you will need to publish a notice of your divorce in a local newspaper. The notice will run for a specific period set by your state law. Once that time has passed, you can file a proof of publication with the court.
In other states, you cannot serve the papers yourself. Instead, you will need to hire a process server service to serve the papers for you. Once the process server has served the papers, they must complete and sign a Proof of Service form. They will then file this form with the court.
The Waiting Period
After you have served the papers, there is usually a waiting period. This waiting period can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months.
During this time, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to work out a settlement agreement. This agreement will cover child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and property division.
If you can reach an agreement, you can file it with the court. Once the court approves it, it will become a legally binding contract, but if you cannot reach an agreement, you will need to go to trial. During the trial, a judge will make decisions about the issues in your case.
The Final Step
After the waiting period is over, you can file for a divorce. This is the final step in the process. You will need to file a divorce complaint or petition with the court.
You will also need to pay a filing fee. Once you have filed the petition, you must serve it on your spouse. The process of serving the papers varies from state to state.
After the papers have been served, there is usually a waiting period. This waiting period can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months. Once the waiting period is over, the court will grant your divorce. You will then be able to remarry legally.
Divorce might be the first thing in your mind, but there are some things to consider before filing for divorce. Of course, the first thing to consider is that it’s expensive.
Expenses of Divorce
The average cost of a divorce is around $12,900. This includes attorney’s fees, court costs, and the cost of hiring a private investigator. These can cost a lot of money and reach $20,000 if you decide to bring them to trial. The next thing to consider is child support.
If you have children, you will need to think about child support. In most states, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support. However, the amount of child support you will have depends on several factors, including your income and the number of children you have.
Child custody can also be an issue in divorce.
If you have children, you will need to think about child custody. In most states, the court will award joint legal custody. This means that both parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, health, and welfare.
The court will also award physical custody. This means that the child will live with one parent most of the time. The other parent will have visitation rights.
Divorce can be a challenging process. But, if you follow these steps, it can be a little easier. However, always consider your options. For example, if you can’t handle the expenses, it might be better to take up marriage counseling instead. It might save your relationship.