You must submit completed forms to the court
I n life, there are at least three things that are certain. Death, taxes and divorce forms.
No matter which road you travel toward a divorce, you will need to present papers in good order to the court that is hearing your case. If your case requires the assistance of a Family law attorney, he or she (or a paralegal) will interview you to ascertain the answers that must appear on the forms. As you might imagine, that exercise ain’t cheap.
You will get divorce forms one of three ways.
1. Through a lawyer you hire as part of that lawyer’s representation of you. You’ll get plenty of help at the going legal rate of $150.00 to $400.00 per hour.
2. Picking them up at your local court house. Forms offered there are often free (if you do not count the hassle of driving there, parking costs, standing in lines, your time and effort). If you go, make sure you request a complete packet because you will not know what forms you will need until you read through them. Most county clerk’s offices are reluctant to provide much help as some types of assistance could be construed as legal advice. You will be given choices: with or without kids, with or without assets, contested or uncontested, no fault or fault.
3. Buy them on-line and download them to your computer. Divorce papers and forms are all over the internet at various prices. We suggest you get combo package divorce forms to be sure you have what you need. These forms are offered for all 50 states via the link above.
Below are forms commonly required by most states. They may have slightly different names in your state than what you see below, but you will recognize them:
- Complaint (Petition) for Divorce
- Appearance, Consent, and Waiver form
- Decree of Divorce
- Marital Settlement Agreement (divide assets and debt, child custody, child support, divide property. etc. This may include a Parenting Plan)
- Financial statement
- Certificate (Decree) of Divorce
If your spouse is in agreement with you on all the issues, s/he will not have to be served in most jurisdictions. A form acknowledging receipt of the petition for divorce need only be signed by your spouse and returned to the court.
If you have children from the marriage, the court will expect you to agree to how you two will parent your children as they move between two homes. When disagreements cannot be resolved, courts will order the parties to mediation or some form of alternative dispute resolution. If those efforts fail, the court will supply its own version of a parenting plan. Since you do not know what you will get in a court-ordered plan, most couples find a way to resolve their differences.
Be sure to check your state’s page for more details.
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