There is no question that filing for divorce can be stressful. And filing for divorce without a lawyer and not understanding the legal ramifications of filing a divorce form can make it even more difficult.
The following information will assist you in preparing a divorce form. Each state has its own specific forms. You will need to prepare and fill out divorce papers according to the requirements of the state and area which you reside. You will find links on this website that point to specific states and the appropriate divorce form(s) which you will need to use. Once you find the proper form you should read it carefully before you fill-in the required information.
Follow the special instructions that may be required for filing your paperwork. For example, California requires that particular information be provided in all capital letters. Since you have decided to file the paperwork, you are the official Petitioner and your spouse is the official Respondent.
In some states you would be the Plaintiff and your spouse would be the Defendant. Since you are not using a lawyer to file this paperwork under "Attorney for" you should put "In Pro Per" or "Self." This personal divorce information is used by the court for its filing system. So getting the information you put in your paper work absolutely correct is very important indeed. You should not forget to fill-out the heading on all of the pages, so if in the unlikely event your pages get separated, they can be easily found and properly returned to your original file. If this is your first divorce document to be filed with the court for this case, you probably have not been issued with an official case number at this time until the paperwork is filed, so it is best to leave that part blank.
In a California divorce form for example, there are many questions that are asked of the Petitioner (you) so that the court (and court officials) can best assist you with your personal request. Answer the questions to the best of your knowledge and ability and try and be as thorough as you possibly can.
This is considered a declaration as to the truth of the divorce form/document you are filing. You must duly date and sign this document in order for the court to accept your paperwork. It is always best to double check your paperwork especially if you do not have a lawyer filing it on your behalf. If this is the case, simply leave the attorney signature blank durable power of attorney. Take the appropriate form(s) to the local courthouse and file them with the Family Court. You will have to have the paperwork officially served on your spouse. In most cases, it generally is done by the sheriff or a certified process server so that the court has an authentic (and accurate) record of service. Check with the court for a detailed list of process servers in your local area.
An uncontested divorce matter (for example, in the state of Colorado) can be filed by simply filling out the correct forms and filing them in person at your local county courthouse.
Divorce forms can be found on this website. Your county or state website will have specific court documents for determining the division of assets and property, child custody as well as child support. You should always seek professional advice and assistance from an attorney if you are in doubt about filing procedures and/or have any questions about court matters pertaining to divorce.
Also, if your ex-spouse will not come to an agreement on a specific issue then you should address this problem with the help and assistance of a divorce lawyer. Complete a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" (for example: in the state of Colorado it is JDF 1101), the financial information Sheet and the Summons if needed. The spouse who files for divorce is called the petitioner, and the other spouse is called the respondent. Important: State law usually requires one of the parties to be a resident for at least 90 days before filing.
When it comes to an agreement with your ex-spouse about how your property will be divided the division must set aside any personal property like inheritances. But the marital property must be divided fairly between the spouses. A family court judge will review this division, and has the power to block the divorce if the division isn't deemed fair and reasonable to both concerned parties.
Both you and your ex-spouse can mutually agree upon whatever parenting rules you may choose if it is in the best interest of your children. Both joint physical and joint custody are the accepted foundations of child custody; both parents can describe specific parenting time in written detail or you can leave the guidelines open if you are certain that you can both agree on parenting time now and in the future. You should find out about the current rules for the proper financial contribution of both parents to the children's needs. In most states when it comes to child support rules it is usually based solely on the incomes and financial means of both parents.
You should complete, have notarized and file with the family court the following legal forms: Certificate of Compliance (for example: in the state of Colorado it is JDF 1104); Sworn Financial Statements; Separation Agreement; Parenting Plan; Decree; Support Order; and the Pretrial Statement if you and your ex-spouse are in disagreement about certain issues. You are also required to attend an initial status conference for the exchange of legal documents and to provide the Court with the forms you have already completed. You will also be required to attend the final hearing. At this time, if both parties agree to the specific terms and conditions of all divorce related documents that have been filed, the judge will review the case and make any legal adjustments needed. At the conclusion of the final hearing after everything has been said and done, the Decree and Legal Support Orders will be entered into the public record, making the divorce final.
If the agreement will be completed (signed) using the mail, always send two original copies to the other party and have one returned to you. If you are uncomfortable about signing the agreement (before the other person signs) send an unsigned copy to the other person and have them return it to you. Then you can make a duplicate, sign the duplicate, and return the complete agreement to the other person. Retain the divorce form for at least seven years. Even if the time during which a lawsuit may be brought is less than six years in your state, you should keep it on file for six years for tax purposes. Most of us at one time or another, have met a person who entered into an agreement that he or she later regreted signing. If the agreement is in writing, the other party knows that if he or she does not live up to the agreed--to promise, you can sue for damages. This, in turn, makes it more likely they will make good on the agreement's requirements. You can use these forms simply by filling in the blanks, dating it, signing it, and having it witnessed. You don't have expend effort working through the mechanical process of typing and preparing a form every time you need it. You thereby avoid the possibility of a typing error that could prove costly in your time and money.
You should ensure that you sign an agreement in your true capacity. If you just sign your name, you can be held liable personally. Each divorce form was drafted by an attorney and subsequently reviewed by at least one other attorney. We are confident that these divorce forms will serve you efficiently and safely. However, these divorce forms are designed for straightforward transactions. If you're faced with a complex arrangement or one that involves a significant amount of money and division of property, you would be ill--advised to try and save money by not first consulting with a divorce lawyer.