If you and your spouse are experiencing problems and you’ve tried marriage counseling to no avail, then maybe it’s time to file for divorce. Knowing the steps to take up-front will make the process peaceful and fairer for both parties. Continue reading to learn how to initiate a divorce. 

Hire a Divorce Attorney

To receive a fair settlement, you must work with a divorce attorney who will guide you through this journey. Working with one will level the playing field if your spouse shows up to court with their own attorney. Even if you’re confident you can successfully represent yourself, you should still consider working with one because they will review your documents. 

Prepare a Divorce Petition

A divorce petition is a legal document filed in court by a spouse who seeks a divorce. It informs the court of the filing spouse’s (petitioner) desire to end their marriage, and it signifies the initiation of a divorce. In some states, the document is formally known as a “complaint” and not a petition, but they’re both the same. 

The petition must include the names and birthdates of your children, as well as the addresses of everyone in your immediate family. It must also state your expectations, such as receiving child support, life and health insurance, custody, or visitation rights. 

State the grounds of your divorce, even if you’re filing a no-fault one. This states there are irreconcilable differences in your marriage. In some states, you can list adultery, abandonment, or inhumane treatment. 

Serve the Summons

A process server, sheriff, or a person who is at least 18-years old and not related to you must serve your spouse with a summons; it’s illegal for you to do this step. Your spouse is called the respondent or the defendant, depending on your state. The person who serves it can also include the petition or complaint attached to the summons. 

It’s in your best interest to hire a process server because they’re trained in ethically delivering these documents. Although you can ask a friend to do it, they may not approach your spouse with the same respect a professional would. 

The respondent will have 30 days to file a response; this is formally known as an “answer.” Your spouse will have the opportunity to either deny or admit to the claims in your petition. They can also include a counterclaim if they’re interested in seeking the same benefits you’re seeking. 

File the Divorce Form

File the divorce forms with a court clerk promptly. If you decide to work with a process server, they must also fill out an affidavit of service. A judge will review all the documents, and if everything is in order, they will allow you to go through with the divorce. 

Contact The Ault Firm

As you can tell, commencing a divorce is difficult. If you want to get through this process sooner and receive a fair settlement, you need to work with an experienced divorce attorney. Contact The Ault Firm today, and one of our attorneys will fight for you in court.