Divorce is incredibly common in the United States, with approximately half of all marriages tragically ending in divorce. Although the divorce process varies depending on the dynamics of a married couple, generally, some aspects of divorce remain the same.
For example, couples who openly communicate, were in a short-term marriage, don’t have children, and don’t own property usually have an easier time with a divorce. In contrast, couples who refuse to communicate or compromise, don’t have a plan to determine child custody, or can’t agree on property division find the process of divorce more stressful and complicated.
Filing a divorce is never easy. Emotions are at an all-time high, and the process of filing divorce paperwork can make the experience even more frustrating. Here is a guide to help you file for divorce if you and your spouse have decided that your marriage can’t be mended.
Make Sure You’re Certain
Before you begin the rigorous process of filing for a divorce, make sure that a divorce is what you and your spouse need. As obvious as it sounds, some couples prematurely file for divorce without considering all the ramifications that follow. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, and people tend to make rash decisions based on strong emotions. Couples who file for divorce in the spur of the moment and regret it soon after find that it’s challenging to go back on their decision—even if they change their mind.
Exhaust all reconciliation options before you, and your spouse take the drastic step of filing for divorce. Give marital counseling or mediation process a try before considering a divorce. Perhaps go for a legal separation first.
File a Divorce Petition
If you and your spouse have tried to repair the marriage one too many times to no avail, then perhaps it’s time for a divorce. One spouse must file a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage legally. The spouse who files for the divorce must provide the following to the court:
- A statement that proves that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements.
- A legal reason for the divorce. Also known as “grounds” for the divorce.
- All other statutory information that your state requires.
Grounds for divorce vary by state. All states allow couples to file a no-fault divorce, which is a streamlined process that will enable spouses to file a divorce petition without giving a specific reason for the divorce.
Wait for a Response
After you’ve filed for divorce, you must provide your spouse with a copy of the paperwork. File your proof of service with the court. Proof of service lets the court know that you met the statutory requirements for giving a copy of the petition to your spouse. Do not neglect to take this step; if you fail to file a proof of service with the court, the judge will not proceed with your divorce case.
Divorce can turn your world upside down in an instant. Don’t take on your spouse in court without the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. Contact The Ault Firm today.