You can apply for a divorce regardless of whether or not your spouse agrees to it. There is a specific series of steps you must take to do this. The more you learn about how this works, the smoother everything is going to go.
- Consider Your Situation
First you will need to consider your own situation and what the reason is going to be for your divorce. No-fault divorce related to couples who are splitting up because they are not compatible. At-fault divorce is when one of the people has committed adultery, abuse, or even abandonment.
- Pick Up and Fill Out the Required Forms
The next step in applying for a divorce is getting the necessary forms and filling them out. You can go down to your local courthouse to obtain these documents. Make certain that you fill them out completely so they can get processed without any issues. A majority of people who file for divorce need to get a family law petition, but it depends on where you live. If you have children, you will have to fill out separate forms for custody.
- Get the Documents Reviewed
While you aren’t legally required to get your divorce papers reviewed by a lawyer, it is a good idea. Take the time to find someone who has years of experience with divorce cases and law. By doing this you will ensure that everything moves forward without complications. Many family courts offer help to people who are applying for divorce.
- File the Paperwork
When you have all of the required paperwork filled out, you will need to go back to the courthouse and file the documents. You should make copies for you and your ex-partner so that you each have this documentation. The original paperwork will be turned into the courthouse. There is going to be a fee that you’ll need to pay for filing this paperwork, so be prepared for that. This fee can be anywhere from $100 to $300, depending on where you live. If you are not able to pay the fee, you may be able to get it waived.
- Make Sure Your Ex-Partner is Served
Finally, you will need to make certain that your ex-partner gets served the divorce papers. This is a necessary part of the process, and the documents have to be served to them in person. Keep in mind that this isn’t something you will be able to do yourself. There are people you can hire to serve the papers for you. You may also request that someone from your local Sheriff’s office does this on your behalf.
- Financial Disclosure
Your application for divorce won’t be able to go forward until both you and your ex-partner have filled out the necessary forms disclosing your finances and assets. It’s always a good idea to hire a lawyer for this step, as it can be tricky. You will most likely have to include your tax returns for the previous couple of years with these disclosure forms. Make sure that your ex gets served with these forms, as they must be completed.
- Before you apply for divorce, you should check the residency requirements for your area. A lot of states in the U.S. will require you to have been a resident for a minimum of six months before you can file for divorce.
If your spouse is going to contest the divorce, the best thing you can do is hire a lawyer. Things can get very messy in this situation, which is why you will need help from a legal professional who knows what they are doing.