How to File for Divorce

Need to know how to file for a divorce? If you're considering divorce, you'll want to make sure you follow these simple steps to make sure you protect yourself in case things get ugly.

Seek Legal Counsel
Before you tell your spouse you want a divorce, you will want to meet with a lawyer to find out the basics of divorce law in your state. You don't know how your spouse is going to react when you deliver the news that you want to divorce; he may be extremely angry, violent, devastated or spiteful. In the best scenario, he will agree that the divorce is inevitable and will respond amicably, but assuming the best has burned many a person. In this case, you want to find out what you should do about immediate living conditions in case he tells you to move out, what to expect in the next few months, and what your state requires as a formal procedure for separating and divorcing.

Talk to Your Spouse
Pick a safe place to discuss the end of your marriage. If you can, end the relationship amicably, requesting your spouse to seek mediation together instead of a contested divorce, which will drive costs of the divorce sky high and will be far more stressful than an uncontested divorce.

File Through Your Attorney
Depending on what state you live in, you will need to file either for a formal separation-if your state requires that you live apart for a certain amount of time before a divorce will be granted-or for divorce. Your attorney will handle the paperwork, but you will have to provide the following information:

  • Your personal identification and contact information
  • Personal information about all children involved in the case
  • Complete financial disclosure, including all debts, assets, investments and real estate owned, both joint and separate

Pay Court Costs
You will need to pay the costs to file for divorce.

Have Your Spouse Served
You now need to give your spouse a physical copy of the filing papers. This can be done via the mail or courier. In some states, the sheriff of your town will serve the papers.

Submit the Proof of Service Papers to the Court
Your attorney may or may not do this for you.

Work Out Custody and Child Support Issues
This can be done through a mediator or through litigation. If you can work together amicably in a mediation session, you will save yourself a lot of money and emotional stress. If you cannot accomplish this in a mediation session, you will need to consult your lawyer for advice before litigation begins.

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Unfortunately, for many individuals in the United States, divorce is a fact of life. Of course, the divorce process can be terribly emotional and stressful and you may have many divorce questions. However, the better you understand the divorce process, the less painful it can be.

Filing for divorce is a painful step, but there are advantages to being the first to do so if divorce is clearly in your future.

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