How to file divorce papers without an attorney

Filing for divorce is often portrayed as a long legal matter with lawyers for both sides fighting in the courts. However, divorces can be conducted without attorneys involved as long as both parties are able to agree to the terms of the divorce.

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

Florida divorce law provides a process called a ‘Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.’ Couples can use this to get a quick divorce, about 30 days from filing to finalization, as long as they have complete agreement on the terms of the divorce and it’s uncontested. This does have some requirements that must be met, however. In addition to both parties agreeing to this process, the couple must not have any children under 18 or dependent children, the wife must not be pregnant, and no alimony can be involved. At least one of the people involved must have lived in Florida for the last six months, and both parties must agree fully to the terms of the divorce and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This process also eliminates both parties’ rights to a trial and appeals.

Qualifications for Divorce

The first step is to make sure your marriage qualifies for divorce in Florida. The state is one of many that has removed fault as a necessary grounds for divorce. Instead, it must only be proved that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” though fault can still be used in the division of assets and assigning alimony if the divorce goes to court. In such a case, however, attorneys will need to be involved to guide you through the legal process. To keep attorneys and their fees from entering into the proceedings, both parties will have to agree the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. There must also be proof that the marriage actually exists to begin with, and that at least one party has lived in Florida for the past six months.

Forms You Need

Once the two sides have agreed to the divorce, paperwork must be filled out. The Florida State Courts provide all of the forms online, and you can find them here: http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/forms_rules/index.shtml#instruction

The forms can be tricky, and once they are entered into court they cannot be altered. You can get some assistance completing them without an attorney by enlisting the service of a paralegal. Without being an attorney, their fees will often be substantially less.

Court Procedure

Though you won’t be having a trial, you will still need to appear in court before a judge. Also, if children are involved, you will be required to complete a Department of Children and Families approved parenting course. Be sure to take a Final Decree with you for the judge to sign. The judge will ensure the necessary paperwork has been completed within the guidelines of the law and may ask some basic questions about the information on the forms. However, the judge will not provide legal advice or provide a thorough auditing of the paperwork. Once the judge signs the Final Decree, take it to the circuit clerk to file it. You should also ask for a certified copy for each party to keep for your records.

If you or your spouse has lived in Illinois for at least 90 days, you will be able to file for divorce. To do it yourself without a lawyer, you’ll need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage at the county courthouse where you live.

The specific paperwork you’ll need will change depending on if it’s contested or uncontested, and whether or not you have minor children. In all cases, you’ll need to provide the court with papers outlining all your property and assets.

If you file alone, you must officially notify the other spouse about the divorce before it can proceed.

At this point, you would also decide if you need a temporary hearing to set up things like child support, spousal support, and restraining orders before the divorce is finalized.

Once the judge has reviewed all the paperwork, and if there are no errors, the judge will return a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. If you can’t agree on every aspect of the divorce, they may order mediation to help you and your spouse come to an agreement.

Do-It-Yourself Divorce Defined

A DIY divorce is when you file all the paperwork with the court and make decisions about all the aspects of a divorce without the help of an attorney. In most cases, this is done in low-conflict divorces where the couple agrees on property division, child custody and support, and all other parts of the divorce.

Couples who haven’t been married long, agree on the terms of the divorce, and don’t have children may qualify for a Joint Simplified Divorce. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to get a divorce but has a strict list of qualifications [1] .

If you and your spouse don’t agree on the divorce, you can still file for a contested divorce on your own. However, the process and paperwork for a contested divorce are slightly different and may require additional steps.

How Much Does It Cost To File a Divorce Yourself?

When you get divorced, you will need to pay filing fees with the court. This specific amount varies from county to county. Also, if your spouse isn’t present, you’ll have to pay to serve them papers. If both parties can’t agree and the judge orders mediation, it may incur additional costs.

In general, expect to pay a minimum of $250 to file for a divorce.

The Risks of a DIY Divorce

Even when both you and your spouse agree on the divorce, it’s always best to consult a lawyer. This isn’t because of any hidden plots, or ill-will. Instead, having a lawyer can help avoid mistakes that can cost you a lot of time, money, and energy.

The more complex a divorce case gets, the more demanding the requirements for paperwork. Worse, if your divorce is contested, it can be harder to get a fair result without legal help.

Before filing a divorce on your own, make sure you’re prepared. Consider how your property will be divided, if either side needs financial support, child support, parenting schedules, and every other aspect. If there is even one point that you and your spouse can’t agree on, a judge may order costly mediation or, if that doesn’t work, might have to decide themselves.

The idea of a DIY divorce is to save time and money. But if you’re unsure of the process or make mistakes, it might end up costing you more in the end. When in doubt, consult an experienced family lawyer.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (312) 757-8082 now!

How to file divorce papers without an attorney

A lot of spouses who make a decision to divorce in Florida may postpone it because of the costs. Some even end up waiting years to file and spend most of their savings trying to end their marriage. However, there is a quicker and simpler solution that most people do not know is available to them – filing for divorce in Florida without a lawyer.

It is a fact that most of the divorce expenses are those spent on a family attorney. Even in the simplest of cases, they will charge a few thousand for their services. If there is no need for a lawyer, such expenses may be kept well under a thousand, and you only need to reach an agreement with your spouse on the divorce matters not to hire a legal expert.

As long as you and your soon-to-be-ex settled the disputes concerning asset division, alimony, childcare, and child support, you qualify for an uncontested divorce and can represent yourself in court. To do it properly, you need to know what the steps to getting a divorce in Florida are and which obstacles you might encounter on the way.

1. Meet Florida Residency Requirements for Divorce

Before you start the filing process, you need to make sure that you meet all the divorce requirements in Florida. One of them is maintaining a residence in the state for at least 6 months. It would not be necessary for both of you to be residents to start a divorce in Florida – only for the filing party. If you do not meet this requirement, the court will not have jurisdiction over your case, and you will either have to wait or file in the state where you maintain residence at the moment.

2. Get a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The first document that you should file to divorce in Florida is a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You will need to find this form and fill in the basic information about you, your spouse, and your children.

Note that Florida divorce paperwork is not limited to a Petition. In fact, to file for divorce in Florida, you need to find and fill out quite a few uncontested divorce forms, depending on your personal case. Some of the common documents required to file for divorce are:

  • Summons
  • Financial Affidavit.
  • Family Court Cover Sheet.
  • Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • Notice of Social Security Number.
  • Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure.

There are other mandatory forms you need to search for, and the total number is hard to estimate without looking into the specifics of your family and financial situations. The process of completing the paperwork might also become a challenge due to the legal terms used in it and the number of fields you will have to go through.

Overall, finding and filling out divorce papers in Florida is a rather time-consuming process. There is always a risk of making mistakes, missing fields, or leaving out certain forms by accident. However, you do not need to hire a lawyer to prevent it. There are reliable and legal online services that can choose case-specific documents for you and fill them out in a prompt manner.

3. Sign and Submit the Petition

After you have successfully completed the step of preparing your own Florida divorce forms, you need to print them out. Note that you will have to sign your Petition in front of a notary along with a few other forms that require notarization.

After that, to apply for divorce, you must make copies of the paperwork and file them and the originals with the circuit court in the county where you live or have last resided with your ex. Once you pay the filing fee, the clerk of courts will stamp the documents and give you back the copies while keeping the original files.

4. Deliver a Petition Copy to Your Spouse

As soon as you file, you have to serve divorce papers to your ex, which is a mandatory step of filing divorce in Florida. Serving your spouse means officially notifying them about initiating a marriage dissolution process by providing them with copies of the documents you filed.

In Florida, the law does not allow you to complete the service on your own. You are required to hire someone to serve divorce papers. This can be either a sheriff or a process server, and the fees for their services will vary depending on the county.

After the service is complete, your spouse will have 20 days to give the signed and notarized Answer, Waiver, and Request for Copy of Final Judgement back to you, as well as the Financial Affidavit if it is required in your case. You will then have to file these forms with the clerk.

5. Finalize Florida Marital Settlement Agreement

Getting a divorce without an attorney means that you have to draft your Settlement Agreement on your own. This is an extremely important form in your packet of Florida divorce documents, in which you will detail the agreement you and your spouse reached regarding your marriage dissolution. Some of the aspects that would be important to mention in a divorce settlement agreement include:

  • Property division.
  • Legal and physical custody.
  • Child support.
  • Health insurance for either party or the child.
  • Retirement benefits.
  • Life insurance policies.

You may include other provisions covering the agreements you and your spouse have reached. The more information you provide in each section, the less likely the disputes are to arise once you are granted a marriage dissolution. It is best that you reach all the agreements as soon as possible after you decide to end your marriage and, preferably, submit the Marital Settlement Agreement along with the initial paperwork.

6. Attend A Divorce Hearing

In Florida uncontested divorce, final hearing is one of the last steps to getting your marriage dissolved. Depending on the court requirements, a petitioner has to be present on the final divorce hearing to answer the judge’s questions, but the presence of the defendant might be optional.

Once the date is set, you are required to give the Notice of Hearing to your spouse. Arrive at a divorce hearing a little earlier with the rest of the paperwork you need to file at hand. Take a Final Disposition with you as you will need it later. A judge will review your Settlement Agreement and might ask you to prove your residence. Uncontested hearings are usually quite brief, and no issues will arise if you follow the proper court process and file all the necessary paperwork in due time.

7. File the Final Disposition with the Clerk

The very last step of the process is obtaining a Final Decree of Divorce. Who fills out the Final Decree of Divorce? As you and your spouse are in agreement – you do. Once a Decree is signed, you will officially have your divorce finalized. However, you also have to fill out a Final Disposition form and file it with the clerk after that.

(This packet contains: Instructions, Civil Information Sheet, Petition for Divorce, Voluntary Entry of Appearance, Request for Service Form, Summons, Domestic Relations Affidavit, Child Support Worksheet, Parenting Plan, The divorce decree packet (done separately at www.kansaslegalservices.org/FreeLegalForms) Kansas Payment Center Information Sheet, Vital Statistics Form, Notice of Final Hearing and Decree of Divorce, and is for use in divorces where the filing person and spouse have children of their relationship together.)

Read these directions carefully and completely. When completing forms, type or print neatly.

WARNINGS

These are basic forms that will not cover every situation. A divorce can be complicated and using legal forms without a lawyer’s help can harm your legal rights. Every district court has specific local rules that apply and you must follow those rules or you may not be able to finish your case.

The Clerk of the District Court cannot help you prepare these forms. The Clerk cannot give legal advice about your rights or responsibilities and can only provide very limited information about the divorce process. If you have any questions, you should contact a lawyer.

It is important to note that property decisions are binding and may not be subject to modification. In addition, agreements regarding debt are NOT binding on, and do not affect the rights of, third parties.

Facts About Filing for Divorce in Kansas:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in Kansas for at least sixty (60) days before filing a Petition for Divorce with the court.
  • You must start the legal process by filing certain documents, and paying a filing fee, with the Clerk of the District Court in the county where you or your spouse lives.
  • Once your case is filed, you will be given a case number which must be on all documents you file with the court in the future.
  • If you are filing for a divorce without the assistance of a lawyer, you are responsible for completing all the necessary forms and the Clerk of the District Court cannot help you prepare any legal documents or provide any legal advice.
  • Once you have filed your Petition for Divorce, it is important that you inform the Clerk of the District Court if you or your spouse’s address changes.
  • Terminology:

· Filing Spouse = Petitioner or Plaintiff

· Non-filing Spouse = Respondent or Defendant

Instructions for filing a divorce:

1. Complete the Civil Information Sheet, Domestic Relations Affidavit, Parenting Plan and Petition for Divorce.

2. Sign the Petition for Divorce and the Domestic Relations Affidavit in front of a notary public. Notary publics may commonly be found in law firms, title companies and financial institutions, i.e. banks and credit unions.

3. File with the Clerk of the District Court:

· the original Petition for Divorce with required copies;

· the original Domestic Relations Affidavit with required copies;

· the original Civil Information Sheet; and

· the Request for Service Form, if not filing a Voluntary Entry of Appearance.

Pay the required filing fee. (Check with the Clerk or the local rules to determine the number of additional copies required as well as the amount of the filing fee.)

4. You must notify your spouse that you have filed a Petition for Divorce in one of the following ways:

a. “Voluntary Entry of Appearance”: Your spouse signs a Voluntary Entry of Appearance form in front of a notary public, which acknowledges receipt of the Petition for Divorce. The Voluntary Entry of Appearance with your spouse’s original signature is then filed with the Clerk.

b. “Sheriff’s Service”: You must fill out a Request for Service Form, requesting that the sheriff deliver the Petition for Divorce to your spouse. If your spouse lives in Kansas, you must pay a sheriff’s service fee. If your spouse lives in a State other than Kansas, it is your responsibility to find out the procedures required by the sheriff in that state and county and to pay any fees required.

i. If your spouse lives in Kansas, please complete the In State Summons form.

ii. If your spouse lives in a state other than Kansas, please complete the Out of State Summons form.

c. “Certified Mail Service”: You must mail the summons and Petition for Divorce by certified mail – return receipt requested to your spouse at his or her last known residential address. File the “green” “return-receipt card” with the Clerk when you receive it from the US Postal Service.

5. Contact the Clerk of the District Court to find out how to get a final hearing date and time in your divorce. Different courts have different procedures and requirements. Kansas law provides that a divorce decree cannot be entered until at least 60 days after the petition filing date.

6. Send written notice of the hearing date to your spouse and file the original of that notice with the Clerk. Certified mail is the preferred method of mailing.

7. If required by local rules, attend and complete any required parenting, co-parenting, divorce or other required classes prior to your final divorce hearing.

8. Complete the Child Support Worksheet (CSW). Instructions for completion of the CSW may be found on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org/rules-procedures-forms/Child-Support-Guidelines/default.asp, or by visiting your local law library. The CSW must be completed prior to your hearing.

9. You may complete paragraphs 8, 12-13, 20-23, and 25 of the Decree of Divorce before the final divorce hearing. The remaining paragraphs of the Decree of Divorce are for the judge to complete.

10. Attend the final divorce hearing, taking with you:

a. The Decree of Divorce and at least 3 copies;

b. Any written property division agreement signed by you and your spouse;

c. Written proof that you gave to your spouse notice of the hearing date and time;

d. Required copies of the completed Domestic Relations Affidavit;

e. Required copies of the completed Parenting Plan;

f. Required copies of the completed Child Support Worksheet;

g. The Kansas Payment Center Information Sheet (for child support); and,

h. The Vital Statistics Form.

11. When you present the decree to the judge, you should be prepared to tell the judge about the facts stated in the petition, that you and your spouse are incompatible, and why your proposed agreements are fair.

12. Take the original and 3 copies of the decree of divorce to the divorce hearing. Once the judge has signed the original decree, take the original and all copies to the Clerk who will file the original. Provide your former spouse a file stamped copy of the decree and keep the remaining copies.

============== Instructions prepared by the Kansas Judicial Council ==============

There are a lot of steps involved in getting a divorce. The whole process can take between several months and two years. This overview will help you understand what to expect.

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Divorce can be complicated and stressful. There are a lot of forms to fill out and time in court. The process can take 4 to 12 months if you don’t have children, or up to two years if you do have children. While this article will help you understand the process, you should consider getting a lawyer to help you.

Get help if you’re in danger

If you or your children have been hurt or abused by your spouse, get help right away. Call 911 if you are in danger now. If you want help from a domestic violence advocate, call the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at 1-800-934-9840. If your spouse has harmed you or threatened to harm you, speak to a lawyer before you file for divorce. The process for getting a divorce is different if you have dealt with abuse.

Decide whereand whetheryou can get divorced

In order to get divorced in Ohio, you must meet these requirements:

  • You have lived in Ohio for at least six months.
  • You or your spouse have lived in the county where you currently live for 90 days.
  • You cannot finalize a divorce while you or your spouse are pregnant. You can start the process by filing for a divorce, but you won’t be able to finalize your divorce until after the baby is born.

You do not have to be legally separated before getting divorced.

If you and your spouse live in different counties, you can choose which county you file in. You can file in a county where you have lived for more than 90 days or the one where your spouse has lived more than 90 days. There may be some advantages of one over the other, especially if you have children. See more about how to choose which court to file in.

Fill out forms and requests for “temporary orders”

In order to file, you must fill out detailed forms describing your income, expenses, what you own and any debts. You will need to think through your finances carefully to ensure that you complete these forms truthfully. Any information that’s not true could look bad for you if your spouse disagrees with any part of the divorce. Learn how to get organized for a divorce.

Divorce is often a long process. To decide what happens while you wait for the divorce to be finalized, you can file “requests for temporary orders.” These “temporary orders” will set out who will be responsible for important things in your life, like custody of your children or payment of debts, while you’re waiting for the divorce to be final. See more about temporary orders.

To view what divorce forms to file in your county and get help filling them out, go to:

Bring in and “serve” the forms

Take your completed forms to the Clerk of Court at the Domestic Relations Court where you decided to file. You have to pay a fee to file for divorce. If you have a low income and can’t afford the filing fee, you can use the Poverty Affidavit Form Assistant to create an additional form to file with your packet of documents. This form asks that you be allowed to file without paying a fee upfront. You may still be responsible for paying the fee at the end of the case.

The court has to tell your spouse that you have filed for divorce. This is called “serving” divorce papers. One of the forms that you will have to fill out asks you how you want the forms to be served. Most people ask the court to mail the papers via certified mail. You will need to check back with the court to make sure that your spouse got the papers. See more about “serving” divorce papers.

“Temporary Orders” are defined

If you asked for temporary orders, your spouse will get up to 14 days to file their own documents to either agree or disagree. If your spouse doesn’t respond in that time, usually the court will issue the temporary orders you have asked for. If your spouse responds in time and asks for something different, the court will decide between them based on the information that you both gave in your forms.

In some complicated cases, the court will schedule a hearing to make a decision on what the temporary orders should be. This hearing is usually held about four to six weeks after you file the paperwork. You must attend the hearing.

Once the court decides on the temporary orders, you need to do what they say until your divorce is finalized.

Participate in hearings

The court will ask you and your spouse to come to a “pre-trial hearing” or “settlement conference” to discuss the terms of the divorce. Some courts may ask you to work with a mediator to come to agreement. Prepare for this meeting by bringing information about your income, expenses, property and debts.

In this hearing, you will tell the judge what you and your spouse agree on and what you don’t. The judge may ask for more information so they can make a fair decision.

If you and your spouse can agree on all the terms of the divorce, you can give your finished plan to the judge. If the judge agrees with it, and thinks that you have given all the information they need, you may be able to finalize your divorce right away.

You must either agree on or prove the “grounds,” or reason, for your divorce during this hearing. Most couples simply agree that they are “incompatible,” which means you no longer get along. If your spouse does not attend the hearing, does not agree that you’re “incompatible” or if your grounds for your divorce are something other than “incompatibility,” you will need to do more. You will need to call witnesses and present evidence to support your reason for divorce.

If you can’t agree on everything, the court will tell you when your next hearing will be. The number of hearings in your divorce will depend on how many issues you and your spouse cannot agree on and how long it takes you to come to agreement.

Finalize the divorce

If you and your spouse have agreed on all the issues, the judge will read your written agreement and confirm it is acceptable under Ohio law. The judge will then approve it and sign it.

Your divorce is not finalized until a signed “Judgment Entry for Divorce” is filed with the court. This is usually filed automatically after the judge approves the divorce. The court will also mail a copy to you.

Self-represented litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys admitted to the bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Representing yourself does not exempt you from understanding and following statewide and local Rules of Court.

For your protection, be sure to verify you have met all up-to-date requirements by contacting your local county court administration.

Public Access Policy Notice

As a participant in your court case, you must follow the rules regarding confidential information, documents and filings. Please read the policy here: http://www.pacourts.us/assets/opinions/Supreme/out/477jad-attach1.pdf?cb=1

Introduction to representing yourself in Pennsylvania

Each of the documents listed below include a blank form and the instructions to fill out that form. It is important to read the attached instructions before completing each form. You must read the divorce procedure to choose the correct forms for your case.

I can’t afford to pay the filing fees

Costs to record, or “file” documents such as the complaint, vary from the type of document, or pleading, to the county in which you begin your case. Some court filing costs may be in the hundreds of dollars. If you cannot afford to pay these fees to the court, you will need to complete the form below entitled, In Forma Pauperis, a Latin term, referring to someone who cannot pay. You will be asked for your income and expense statements. The court may require that you appear in person for a hearing or a judge may decide based upon the information you provide on the In Forma Pauperis form . Instructions are included in the form. Once completed, take the IFP form to the appropriate records office in your county courthouse. This office is called the Prothonotary or Office of Judicial Records.

County-specific forms

Check with your county court for applicable divorce procedures.

COUNTY COURTS

Divorce proceedings in Pennsylvania

You must print each form and take it to the designated office in your county courthouse. For divorce proceedings, use the forms below:

Read this document before you begin a divorce action.

The following document will help you identify the type of divorce case you want to pursue (mutual agreement on a divorce; no mutual agreement but have been separated for at least two years). There are instructions outlining which forms are necessary and in what sequential order they are to be presented, or filed, with the court records office (in many jurisdictions this office is called the Prothonotary). Additionally, the document contains detailed instructions on how to complete each individual form. Several forms have been updated and make parts of this document out of date. Please read carefully and check back to this site for an updated document soon.

No fault and mutual consent 3301(c)(1)

If you and your spouse agree to begin divorce proceedings, use the forms listed below for 3301(c)(1). Once you have completed these forms, contact your local courthouse administration for additional instructions. You must print each form and take it to the designated office in your county courthouse. For No Fault and Mutual Consent 3301(c)(1) proceedings, use the forms below. You are required to “serve” or deliver a copy of each form you prepare to the opposing side. See Service Forms.

3301(c)(1) Forms

No fault 3301(c)(2)

If your spouse has been convicted of committing a “personal injury crime” against you, you may use the forms listed below for 3301(c)(2). Please see Affidavit to Establish Presumption of Consent Under Section 3301(c)(2) of the Divorce Code for a list of “personal injury crimes.” Once you have completed these forms, contact your local courthouse administration for additional instructions. You must print each form and take it to the designated office in your county courthouse. For No Fault and Presumed Consent 3301(c)(2) proceedings, use the forms below. You are required to “serve” or deliver a copy of each form you prepare to the opposing side. See Service Forms.

3301(c)(2) Forms

No fault and applicable time of separation 3301(d)

If the period of separation from your spouse began on or after Dec. 5, 2016 you will need to be living separate and apart from your spouse for a period of ONE YEAR, before filing your complaint in divorce.

If the period of separation from your spouse began before Dec. 5, 2016, you are required to be living separate and apart from your spouse for a period of TWO YEARS, before filing your complaint in divorce.

The previous requirement of two year separation was amended by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2016, reducing the separation time requirement to one year after the effective date of the new law.

Once you have completed these forms, contact your local courthouse administration for additional instructions. You must print each form and take it to the designated office in your county courthouse. For No Fault and Applicable Time of Separation (3301 d) proceedings, use the forms below. You are required to “serve” or deliver a copy of each form you prepare to the opposing side. See Service Forms.

3301(d) Forms

Service of Forms

Service is the delivery of court papers to a plaintiff or a defendant. Court papers may be served by mail, but you must follow very specific rules. Court papers may be served by personal service – handing a copy of the paper to the other party – but not by you or a person related to you. Proof of Service, called Affidavit of Service or Certificate of Service, is a form you must file with the court explaining how court papers were delivered to the other party. A court will not act on your case unless you have served the court papers and filed proof that you followed Rules of Court.

Pa. R.C.P. 1930.4 states the options for service of original process, the custody or divorce complaint. Pa. R.C.P. 440 states the options for service of legal papers other than original process.

Please use the appropriate affidavit of service form for the mode of service you will use. If you plan to serve copies of your legal papers by mail, please use form 1. If you use hand deliver service, perhaps by a deputy sheriff or someone else not you or related to you, use form 3a. If your situation requires you to use other means of service different from original process, use form 3d. You will need to consult with the Pennsylvania Rules of Court regarding service in your type of case to ensure you are properly following the rules.

What You Really Need to Know About Online Divorce in Texas

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I File for Divorce in Texas Without an Attorney?

Yes. It is legal in Texas for people to file their own divorce in court without using an Attorney.

Is it Legal to Prepare My Divorce Papers Online in Texas without an Attorney?

Yes. It is legal in Texas for people to prepare their own divorce papers online without using an Attorney.

Am I Eligible to File an Uncontested No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

You can find out in less than 5 minutes if you are eligible to use our service to prepare your divorce forms online by using our uncontested divorce eligibility wizard.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Texas?

There are two separate costs/fees which must be paid to get divorced:

1. Texas Divorce Papers
Our "Online Service Fee:"

LetsGetDivorced.com only charges a $99 Service Fee to use our online service to prepare your Texas Uncontested No-Fault Divorce Forms.

We do not charge anything extra whether your divorce includes minor children, equitable distribution of your joint marital property, the payment of spousal support or a request to change a spouse’s name.

2. The Texas Court "Filing Fee:"

The Court where you file your divorce papers will charge a "filing fee" (about $250 – $300) when the divorce papers are filed with the court to start the divorce and to process the divorce in court. The amount of the filing fees vary by county.

The spouse who is filing the divorce (called the Petitioner in Texas), pays the Court’s "filing fee" directly to the Court.

How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Texas?

With the LetsGetDivorced.com online divorce papers service you can obtain your ready to file divorce papers for a simple case in about 30 minutes.

After all of the divorce papers are filed with the court the case can be finalized in a few weeks before a Judge depending upon the backlog of cases in the particular court.

With our online divorce papers service you do not have to travel to any office to have the divorce papers prepared, and you do not have to wait for the divorce papers to be drafted and mailed to you.

The completed divorce papers are instantly generated online and immediately delivered to your online account.

If you need to make any changes to your divorce details you can simply update your information in your online account and the divorce papers will instantly be updated.

How to File the Online Divorce Papers?

1. Print out the completed divorce papers from your online account and the step by step filing instructions.

2. Each spouse needs to sign their divorce papers.

3. The spouse who is filing the divorce brings the divorce papers to court and files them with the court clerk and pays the court’s filing fee.

Also, the Texas Court system provides online Electronic-Filing (E-File) for people who do not have an attorney and want to file their divorce papers online.

A former couple gets divorced without lawyers or having to appear in court, in our short illustrated story Do your own divorce.

How to file divorce papers without an attorney

Choose the correct guide

Divorce is the legal procedure for ending a marriage. In British Columbia, you get a divorce by getting a divorce order from a judge at the Supreme Court of BC.

You can get a divorce without appearing in court. You need to fill out several forms, file them with the court, pay the filing fees, and wait for your application to be processed. Your divorce order can be final in three or four months, and can cost less than $500.

About these guides

These step-by-step guides can help you do your own divorce. The process should be straightforward if:

  • you and the other person have settled all your separation issues,
  • your paperwork is in order, and
  • you can show that you’ve made reasonable arrangements for parenting and child support.

Either guide will explain how to fill out the required forms and file them at the registry. If you have an agreement or court orders in place, you won’t have to see a judge or go to court to ask for your divorce.

Sole application or joint application?

Both guides include:

  • step-by-step instructions for how to apply for an uncontested divorce in BC, and
  • links to blank forms you’ll need.

Choose your guide by clicking Start sole guide or Start joint guide below.

Sole application

I want to apply for divorce on my own. I’ll complete and file the forms myself, and serve them on my spouse. My spouse won’t contest my application.

Joint application

My spouse and I agree about our separation issues and want to apply for divorce together. We’ll both fill out and sign the forms and one or both of us will file them at the registry.

Divorce in Canada is governed by the federal Divorce Act. However, the way a divorce is administered, and all the procedures and documents used to complete it, differ by province or territory. To find information about divorce in each specific province/territory please visit our provincial pages.

General Overview of the Divorce Process in Canada

Step 1: Decide to Divorce and separate from your spouse.

Step 2: Obtain a divorce application. Each province and territory has their own set of forms. You can get the correct forms for your jurisdiction through a lawyer, bookstore, court office or family law information center.

Step 3: Determine your grounds for filing for divorce. Will it be a no fault or for fault divorce?

  • No-fault divorces require a completion of a 1 year separation period.
  • Fault divorces are filed under the grounds of adultery or cruelty. In these types of divorces you are required to provide evidence to substantiate your claims. Be sure to carefully research “for fault divorces” and retain legal representation if this is the way you choose to file.

Step 4: Determine if your divorce is contested or uncontested and specify the type of divorce on your application.

  • Uncontested divorce: both partners agree to the reasons and terms of the divorce. These divorces need only one application.
  • Contested divorce: spouses do not agree on the reasons and/or terms for the divorce. In this case, both spouses are required to file a separate divorce application.

Step 5: If there is a child/children involved, include an outline of your parenting agreement, custody, support etc. For a contested divorce each spouse will need to supply their preferences for parenting. For an uncontested divorce you simply outline your agreed arrangements.

Step 6: File the divorce application/applications at the courthouse in the province/territory in which you reside; or through your lawyer. Each province/territory has a different fee associated with these applications and some places may have additional formalities that you must follow in order to correctly complete the application process. The clerk at the court, or your lawyer, will be able to guide you through this.

Step 7:Wait for clearance from the Divorce Registry in Ottawa. During this time conduct yourself and your services according to the rules of the court procedure. Once divorce papers have been served to your spouse they then have 30 days from the day they are served, to respond to the Divorce. Application

Step 8: After 30 days are up, if there is no answer filed by your spouse, you can then set down your divorce with the court by submitting your Affidavit for Divorce, Divorce Order and Clerk’s Certificate.

Step 9: Wait for notice of the courts decision to grant you a divorce. A judge will review all the material and if satisfied, they will issue you a Divorce Order.

Step 10: You can obtain your Certificate of Divorce 30 days after the Divorce Order is granted. Only then will you be legally divorced and entitled to remarry.

When filing for Divorce in Canada many people have issues regarding child custody, support, property/assets and the steps surrounding the Divorce Process. Filing for divorce in Canada can be done without a lawyer. However, contacting a lawyer who specializes in family law in your province is always the best way to ensure that you rights, children and future are properly protected.

How to file divorce papers without an attorney

Even the most amicable of divorces can be emotionally trying and tiring to navigate. But if your spouse is uncooperative and refuses to sign the divorce papers, it can make things even more difficult and frustrating for you. If you’ve made the decision to get a divorce, you’re probably ready to move ahead with it so that you can focus on getting a fresh start. Having your spouse dig in their heels and refuse to sign the documents might leave you feeling angry, confused, and desperate to move things along. If you’re in this situation, here’s what you need to know about how to proceed.

Why Aren’t They Signing?

First and foremost, it’s important to try to understand the reasons for your spouse refusing to sign. There can be many different motivations for this action. Are they still hoping to work things out and preserve your marriage? In these cases, sitting down and clearly explaining to your spouse that you’re not happy in your marriage any longer may be able to persuade them to sign.

Are they trying to use this refusal as leverage to get you to give up certain assets or custody of your children? Some people think that refusing to sign will give them power over their spouse, making the other party desperate enough that they’ll make sacrifices simply to move the divorce along. If you think this is their motivation, don’t give into their manipulations. Talk to your attorney about how to proceed.

Another common reason we see for a spouse to refuse to sign divorce documents is simply to make things more difficult for their spouse. Divorces can often bring out the worst in people, and a spouse may refuse to sign the paperwork for a while solely to cause trouble. While it’s a somewhat petty action, both spouses usually end up signing the paperwork in the end, as it’s clear that neither of them are happy.

Why do your spouse’s motivations matter? Simply put, knowing the reason behind their refusal to sign helps you to better understand the best way to respond to this action. Whether you need to just sit down and have a talk, wait it out, or draw a hard line with negotiations will be based on what your spouse is hoping to achieve by refusing to sign the paperwork.

Can You Still Get a Divorce?

If your spouse has refused to sign the divorce papers, you might be panicking and wondering if you can still get a divorce or if you’re stuck in the marriage because of their action. The good news is that most states, including Florida, are “no-fault” states; this means you don’t have to prove that one spouse has done something wrong that led to the divorce. Rather, you can simply state that you feel the marriage is unsalvageable and continue to file for divorce.

You and your divorce attorney will simply have to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the courts. This can be done without a spouse’s signature. After filing, the paperwork will be served to your spouse by a process server. Your spouse will then have 20 days to file a response with the court. At this point, it will be in their best interest to finally respond to your filing; if they don’t respond within 20 days, the court will rule it to be an uncontested divorce.

Assuming your spouse does not file a response, a judge will file a default hearing on your uncontested divorce. You must attend and request the divorce in person; the court will then ask you about matters regarding property division and child custody. Assuming your spouse has still refused to show, the court will generally grant the reasonable requests of whichever spouse has appeared at the default hearing. However, you should still speak to an attorney about these matters.

Possible Complications

So, if you can file a petition to end your marriage without your spouse’s signature, you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Why bother trying to get your spouse to sign documents at all? The simple truth of it is that proceeding with a divorce is always easier when both parties are able to cooperate with one another.

If your spouse is refusing to sign the paperwork they’ve been served, then odds are that they’re not going to be very cooperative in negotiating important facets of your divorce, such as division of assets, spousal support, and child custody issues. This can lead to a host of complications after you file your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, so it’s incredibly important you have a skilled divorce attorney on your side.

If you’ve filed for divorce and your spouse has refused to sign the paperwork, contact Harr Law to schedule a consultation. We’ll provide you with expert advice on the best way to proceed.

Disclaimer: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Please be aware that we do not provide legal advice over the internet or in emails, nor will we agree to represent a party through an email.

Choosing to end a marriage is a pivotal time in a person’s life. If children are involved, the entire family unit is turned upside down for the duration of the divorce period. Plus, proceeding with a divorce is costly both financially and in terms of irreplaceable time.

Cost to File for DivorceHow to file divorce papers without an attorney

In Illinois, the average cost of divorce ranges from $40,00 to $30,000. With minor children, property division and alimony issues, a divorce can be upwards of $20,000. Divorce is expensive. Factors that contribute to the high cost of divorce include court filings, sharing documents and payment to expert witnesses, such as financial analysts or appraisers. In Illinois, a divorce stemming from fault, like adultery, impotence, cruelty, substance abuse or abandonment, can lead to even pricier divorces.

The cost of divorce simply gets higher when couples require a judge to resolve, for instance, property division battles or child custody issues. Spouses who are able to settle prior to the trial pay a markedly lesser price to finalize the divorce. So here’s how to file for divorce without a lawyer.

Filing for Divorce through Mediation

Settling prior to trial makes financial sense. Spouses in Illinois have the option to settle through a process known as mediation, which allows parties to file for divorce without a lawyer. Mediation negotiations allow both parties to mutually agree on relevant issues. Spouses have significant control over the solutions to their conflicts during the mediation process, rather than having a judge govern the outcomes during trial.

Spouses who choose to mediate their divorce have the right to file for divorce without a lawyer, if either party lives in the state of Illinois. The process begins with hiring the right divorce mediator:

  • Both spouses meet with the mediator, providing financial documents and relevant forms during the discovery process.
  • Over the course of one to four meetings with the mediator, negotiations take place surrounding important issues, like child support, parental time and property division.
  • The mediator takes into account the discussions and drafts a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Once mediation has been completed, spouses can file for a divorce with or without a lawyer (depending on the preferred method).

While divorces handled by a mediator are quicker and cost-effective, mediation is not for everyone. The key to a successful mediation is mutual agreement between spouses. The only way to make mediation a viable solution is if both parties agree to the divorce and work together to achieve practical solutions. When one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t, the full cooperation that is necessary for a successful mediation will prevent the mediation from taking place. Mediation, being a voluntary process, is not an option when conflicting interests are present.

Filing for Divorce Without Mediation

In instances when a divorce is not a shared decision between spouses, a divorce lawyer can step in. One spouse will need to hire a divorce attorney, who will then serve divorce papers to the other spouse to start the litigation process.

Divorce proceedings require gathering a significant amount of personal information. When one spouse opposes providing the necessary details in a “good faith” negotiation, a divorce lawyer can help. A divorce attorney will petition the courts to legally compel the other spouse to provide the necessary paperwork and documents necessary to move the divorce forward.

The Requirements for Mediation

Mediations require the collaboration between two competent spouses. A wife or husband who wishes to file for divorce from an incapacitated spouse, however, will not be able to do so without the services of a divorce attorney.

An incapacitated spouse, for instance, may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may be unable to make decisions independently or may be mentally unstable. Mediation is not a feasible option in these instances.

Without the incapacitated spouse having a suitable court advocate, the divorce settlement could potentially be thrown out by the courts. Divorcees are unlikely to want to repeat the divorce process if, somewhere down the line, the incapacitated spouse claims he or she did not comprehend the situation.

When it is Better to File for Divorce with a Lawyer

Divorce lawyers are especially valuable to the divorcing party when the other spouse refuses to disclose all marital assets and liabilities. The divorce lawyer has the power to subpoena all necessary financial documents during the litigation process. A mediator does not have the legal authority to compel this type of disclosure.

Despite the financial attractiveness of a hiring a divorce mediator, filing for a divorce without an attorney is not always a workable option. Mediation functions well during an uncontested divorce. Most divorces, on the other hand, are messy, with one party refusing to divorce or unwilling to disclose all financial assets.

A divorce lawyer with the proper training and experience can provide the optimum services to relieve either party of the financial strain and overall stress of divorce proceedings. A divorce attorney is invaluable in a multitude of financial aspects pertaining to the contested divorce:

  • Financial disclosures
  • Alimony as calculated by income
  • Child support (based on the state of Illinois)
  • Restraining orders that prevent spouses from transferring assets before trial
  • Division of assets and property, including retirement benefits, stock options and business interests.

How to File for Divorce with an Affordable Attorney

When you are seeking a divorce and your divorce is simple (without children or uncomplicated financial assets), you will benefit from hiring a less experienced attorney. However, should your situation be complex, with the involvement of custody battles and substantial assets, seek the services of an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with the current and changing laws in Illinois.

The divorce lawyers at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. have over 50 years of experience handling various aspects of divorce, both contested and uncontested. Spouses looking for a divorce lawyer will find ease in knowing that our divorce attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. are skilled in spousal support, parenting time, division of property and post-decree issues, among other areas of expertise involved in divorces.

Contact Us

Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. offers competitive strategies to help you navigate through the complex routes of divorce and determine what’s best for your needs. We reliably service the Oak Lawn, IL area and surrounding communities.

Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Divorce filing can be an emotionally and financially draining experience, and disentangling the life you built with your former spouse is never easy. In addition to all the issues involved in dividing your property, you may also need to worry about childcare, living arrangements, and the difficulties of starting over.

If you are getting a divorce, you owe it to yourself to make the process as simple and painless as you can. The many legal issues that surround divorce can feel overwhelming, and the perception that every divorce is a legal nightmare hasn’t been helped by its dramatic portrayal on television and in the media. Expensive divorce lawyers are counting on this assumption and want you to believe that no couple can handle the process on their own.

An Uncontested Divorce Is Easier and More Cost-Effective

But there is a simpler, less-complicated, and cost-effective way to handle your divorce without a lawyer. If you and your spouse are on friendly terms, or can at least negotiate how to split up your property and handle issues related to your children, then you can pursue an “uncontested divorce.”

Uncontested divorce agreements are the least expensive way to dissolve your marriage and avoid the huge costs of hiring lawyers. This can enable you to quickly get back on your feet and to put that money towards your new life. Uncontested divorces are also more private, lowering your stress levels and helping both of you move on.

Save on the Cost of an Attorney with The Document People

With our help, most people pursuing an uncontested divorce can easily obtain one without having to go before a judge. We will prepare all the divorce documents for you and file only what you need, when you need it, and will keep you out of those long lines at the courthouse.

In fact, most of our customers never even have to go to court at all! We will complete all of the necessary steps in your case, and we get the great majority of cases settled before the six months and one day waiting period has passed (Check out our LEARNING CORNER on the sidebar to the right). Prices may vary depending on your situation, but they will be a fraction of what you would be forced to spend on a divorce lawyer.

Get started on your new life with an inexpensive divorce!

Contact us to request a quote and for additional information.

We are truly the best option when it comes to divorces:

  • We often come across people who have tried to do it themselves: they prepare the initial petition, fill out everything the clerk hands them and have the false satisfaction of feeling like they are accomplishing something. That only last until it’s time to file the final paperwork: that’s where 99% of people get stuck. And rejection after rejection, they get more and more frustrated with the process, and finally hire us to finish what was started sometimes years before.
  • Same goes for people who use online-only services. The only difference is that they pay hundreds of dollars to have software fill out the forms. The result is the same: they also hit the wall of the finals.
  • Let us assist you in your uncontested divorce case. We have handled literally THOUSANDS of cases this past year — we clearly know how to prepare the paperwork and word the settlement agreement between the spouses in a way that will be approved by the court. And you’ll agree that our fees are extremely competitive.

The 6 months and 1 day

“waiting period”

Some of our customers are genuinely surprised that it takes that long in California to be divorced. It doesn’t matter whether you are in agreement, have no minor children, nor assets. It’s still 6 months and one day from the day the respondent is served.

In the good old days (pre-pandemic), we used to be able to get the final judgment back from the court in 2-3 months, and we were typically able to “beat” the deadline of the 6 months — our customers even if not legally divorced just yet, knew that the paperwork had been processed and approved already.

Because of the increased time it takes the court to review cases, even if we file the final paperwork packet (”the finals”) as soon as possible, we can no longer guarantee that you’ll be divorced right when the 6 months and 1 day have passed.

You’ll be divorced as soon as the judge signs off on your paperwork, assuming the 6 months and one day have elapsed.

A simple divorce is also known as an uncontested divorce, which is when you and your ex agree to divorce.

This is different from a contested divorce, which is when you and your ex do not agree to all the issues raised by the divorce. This could include disagreements about child custody or support or how you will divide your assets.

With a simple divorce, there is an option to file for divorce online and not go to court. To find out if this option is right for you, please visit the Ontario government’s file a divorce application online page.

Before you start

  • Do you have your original marriage certificate? If not, and you were married in Ontario, you can order it online. If you were married outside of Ontario, you will have to get your marriage certificate from the government that issued it.
  • Does your marriage certificate need to be translated? If your marriage certificate isn’t in English or French, you may need a certified translation. In Ontario, this means that a translator has to have a Canadian Translators and Interpreters Council certificate and also be a member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario.
  • Have you been separated for at least one year?
  • Have you (or your ex) mainly lived in Ontario for at least one year?

Starting your simple divorce

Complete the following documents

  • This is the first page of your family law court file, which is called the continuing record. It will contain every document that you and your ex want the court to look at and it is kept at the courthouse.
  • Your divorce will happen through the municipality that you live in.
  • At this point, you do not need a court file number because one will be assigned to you at court.
  • You are the applicant and your ex is the respondent.
  • This is a list that needs to be updated to include every form and document that you add to your court file.
  • Your first listed document is the application.
  • Enter the date you sign the document and the date you attend court to file the application there.
  • Complete the relevant sections. Because you are only asking for a divorce, not all of the sections will apply to you. Remember: you and your ex must have lived separate and apart for at least one year.
  • Sign and date the form. Your ex does not need to sign the document.
  • Important: make a copy of the signed and dated application.

Note: There is a fee of $212 to start a simple divorce. This fee can be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. If you can’t afford to pay for this court fee, you can ask the court to waive your fees so you don’t have to pay. You can do this by completing a Fee Waiver Request Form.

File your documents at court

  1. Go to the Superior Court of Justice in the area that you live. You can find the courthouse in your municipality by visiting the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.
  2. Take a number from the counter and wait until it is called. When your number is called, give all your documents to the court clerk.
  3. You will be given a copy of the application and, if you’re approved for one, a fee waiver certificate. Make sure you keep this in a safe place.

Serving your documents

Serving your documents means giving a copy of all the documents to your ex, who is known as the respondent.

This will include:

  • A copy of your issued application
  • A blank Form 10: Answer

You cannot serve these documents. You must have someone who is at least 18 years old—this could be a friend or family member or a professional server—hand deliver a copy to your ex.

For more information, please visit our serving documents page.

Proof the documents were served

Whoever serves the documents will have to complete:

  • A blank Form 6B: Affidavit of Service sworn/affirmed

This form needs to be signed in front of a notary or a commissioner for taking affidavits. There is a fee of $21 for this service. If you need help finding a commissioner or notary to do this service, ask the court clerk for help.

Make sure you come to the commissioner with ID and the unsigned document.

Your ex doesn’t need to sign anything.

Form 6B needs to be filed in your continuing record at the courthouse.

Finalizing your simple divorce

Your ex has 30 days to respond from the day they’ve been served documents. Your ex, however, doesn’t have to file an answer or sign anything. After the 30 days have passed, you can finalize your divorce.

Complete the following documents

  • This is a checklist of the clerk. Fill in what you can and the clerk will fill out the rest.
  • Attach your original marriage certificate.
  • The information on this form should match the information in your issued application.
  • Take some ID and the unsigned form to be signed in front of a notary or a commissioner for taking affidavits. There is a fee of $21 for this service. If you need help finding a commissioner or notary to do this service, ask the court clerk for help.
  • This is a draft of the divorce order. This is what the judge has to sign.
  • Make three copies of this because one will be kept in your court file, another will be mailed to you and the third copy will be mailed to your ex.

File your documents at court

  1. Bring a self-addressed stamped envelope for you and your ex so that the divorce orders can be mailed to you.
  2. Go to the same Superior Court of Justice courthouse that you originally went to and bring all the documents and the envelopes with you.
  3. Take a number from the counter and wait until it is called. When your number is called, give all your documents to the court clerk. Nothing will be returned to you.

Note: There is a fee of $420 before the divorce is reviewed by the court. Court fees may be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. If you are unable to pay the court fees, you may qualify for a fee waiver.

When are you divorced?

Once you get your divorce order in the mail, your divorce takes effect on the 31st day after the divorced is signed by the judge.

After this, you can go back to the Superior Court of Justice and ask for your original marriage certificate and/or a certificate of divorce. There is a $24 fee for the certificate of divorce. You will need this certificate of divorce if you want to remarry.

No, Oregon has “no fault” divorce. The only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along and you see no way of settling your problems. The law calls this “irreconcilable differences.”

What if I just moved to Oregon?

In almost all cases, either you or your spouse must have lived in Oregon for six months before filing for divorce. In addition, the divorce must be filed in a county in which one of you live. It is possible for you to obtain a legal separation in Oregon prior to obtaining six months residency and then convert that to a divorce once you have lived in Oregon for at least six months.

Will I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested � that is, if you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce � you may be able to complete much of the divorce paperwork yourself, but you will probably still want advice from a lawyer. If the divorce is contested, you will almost certainly need a lawyer.

Oregon law creates a “short form” summary dissolution proceeding for people with very simple divorce cases. If you meet all the requirements for a summary dissolution, you can get the forms at the county courthouse or at the court’s website. You can probably do this type of divorce paperwork yourself, but you may want to have a lawyer look it over.

Self-help forms for more complicated divorces may also be available. Many Oregon counties now have family court facilitators available at the courthouse to assist you in completing and filing self-help divorce forms. Call your local court to see if that service is available.

What do I need to do to start a divorce?

How do I serve the divorce papers?

If a lawyer is handling your divorce, he or she will have the divorce papers served on your spouse. If you are using “do-it-yourself” forms, the instructions will tell you what you need to do. Your spouse can agree to sign papers that say he or she has been served. Otherwise, your spouse must be served by either the sheriff, process server, or another adult (not you or your children).

If you receive certain public assistance benefits, or if child support has already been set, the Division of Child Support (DCS) may have to be served with the divorce petition. If you do not have a lawyer, or if the divorce forms you are using do not have instructions about this, you can call DCS to find out how to serve them with the papers.

What if I am served with divorce papers?

If you agree with all the terms of the divorce as listed in the petition, you do not need to respond. If you want to challenge the terms listed in the petition, you must file a written answer �called a “response” � with the court within 30 days after you were handed the papers. Contact a lawyer, your local legal services office, or the courthouse (if your county has a facilitator program) to learn about what you can do. There is a court fee to file a response in a divorce case, unless you qualify for a fee waiver or deferral.

How much does a divorce cost?

The filing fee for each party in a divorce is $287, as of September 2019. The cost to serve your spouse usually starts at $40 and increases depending on the company you use and how difficult it is for them to find your spouse. There may be other filing fees depending on your specific circumstances. If you cannot afford to pay the costs and fees, you can ask the judge to waive the fees or defer them to a later date. You will need to fill out court papers that show your income is low, and possibly that your expenses are more than your income.

If you hire a lawyer, you will need more money. The more complex the divorce is, the more it will cost. The more issues you and your spouse disagree about, the more work your lawyer will have and the more expenses you will have. Ask your lawyer to explain fee and billing procedures at your first conference. Be sure you know what the lawyer’s charges include, and that you get this information in writing. Sometimes a lawyer will agree to represent you on a payment plan or other arrangement, especially if you own a house that has some equity in it.

If your spouse’s income is much higher than yours, the judge may order your spouse to pay your lawyer. If your income would allow you to make monthly payments to a lawyer, you can call the Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Service for help finding a lawyer who offers payment plans. The number to call is (503) 684-3763 from the Portland area, or (800) 452-7636 from elsewhere in Oregon. An online referral request form is also available at www.osbar.org/public. In addition, if your income is low you may qualify for the Modest Means Program, where you would be referred to an attorney who has agreed to charge either $60, $80 or $100 per hour, depending on your income.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time it will take you to get a divorce depends mostly on the complexity of your case. If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if you and your spouse dispute the issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. Court timelines can affect how long it takes to get the final divorce judgment and many courts require divorce cases to be resolved within one year of filing the petition.

Can I take back my former name?

Yes. The judge must give you back a former name if you ask for it in a divorce.

What is mediation?

Mediation is one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained person tries to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. Most, if not all, counties offer this as a free service through the courts. The judge will probably order both of you to go to mediation in an attempt to agree on divorce issues such as child custody, and parenting time. Some counties allow you to mediate support and property division as well. If this process is not appropriate for you because of safety or other concerns, you may ask that the requirement be waived.

All mediation proceedings are private and confidential. Neither party is required to agree to any solutions proposed by the mediator. If you are able to reach agreement on some or all of the issues, a written summary of that agreement is usually sent to the lawyers by the mediator.

If you and your spouse cannot agree and one of you will challenge the divorce issues in court, a judge will have to make a decision about the issues. Temporary orders may be issued concerning custody, support, parenting time and costs before your divorce trial. A custody decision may be made prior to a decision on any other issue.

What is a legal separation?

A legal separation is a court order that states who gets custody of the children, who pays support for the children, whether spousal support is ordered, and who gets what property. You might want a legal separation if your religious beliefs prohibit divorce or if you or your spouse have not lived in Oregon long enough to file for divorce. A legal separation costs about the same as a divorce. Filing for legal separation does not prevent a divorce from being filed.

The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is that you are still married after a legal separation. Therefore, you may still have the right to inherit property from your spouse if you are legally separated, unless the separation judgment says otherwise. If you are divorced, you lose that right.

There are rules you must follow to serve the petition and other legal documents in a divorce case.

What if I do not know where my spouse is?

  • First you have the sheriff serve (give a copy) the papers to your spouse.
  • If the sheriff cannot find your spouse, then you try to mail the papers to your spouse at the most recent address you have.
    • Your spouse must sign and return the form you send.
    • Certified mail alone is not enough.
    • This must be a legal notice in the newspaper.

    How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce?

    • You must pay a fee to the Clerk of Court when the divorce Petition is filed. This fee is usually $265.
      You must pay a fee to the Sheriff if the Sheriff must give copies of the papers to your spouse. This fee is usually $40-50.
    • If you are unable to pay the fees, you apply to ask the Court to let you file without paying the fees first.
      • When you apply to file without paying the fees, you must provide information about your income and expenses.

      How long does it take to be divorced?

      • You must wait for 90 days after your spouse gets copies of the papers.
      • After 90 days the Court may say you are divorced.
      • Sometimes in special cases the Court lets you be divorced sooner.
      • If there are problems to solve, it may take more than a year to be divorced.

      What if there is domestic abuse?

      • You should talk to a lawyer if your spouse has abused you.
      • Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-942-0333 to find help.

      What if my spouse and I have children?

      • If you have children, the divorce process is more complicated.
      • You must take a class called, "Children in the Middle."
      • You may need to make a parenting plan for you and your spouse to share time with the children.
      • You must make decisions about custody and child support.
      • For more information about custody and child support, click on the words below to go to that information.

      What if my spouse has a pension?

      • A pension earned during a marriage is a joint asset of the couple.
      • During a divorce, steps must be taken to divide a pension.
      • You can lose your right to the pension benefits if you do not divide it in the divorce.
      • Dividing a pension is hard. You should talk to an attorney about the pension.

      Can I get alimony?

      • Many times the court does not order alimony.
      • A court will look at all of the information to decide this.
      • The court will want to know:
        • how much each of them earn.
        • how long they were married.
        • about support of children.

        What if my spouse and I disagree about bills or custody of the children while we wait for the divorce?

        • If you have problems with money or children, you ask the Court to help you.
        • You ask the Court for temporary orders for support or custody.
        • The temporary orders tell you and your spouse what to do while you wait to be divorced.

        I can't agree with my spouse, how do we solve the problems we have?

        • You should make a list of things you need to decide.
        • If you cannot agree on how to solve the problems, you may need to talk to an attorney.
          • An attorney can tell you about your rights
          • What the judge orders may be different from what you or your spouse wants.

          What happens when the Court says my divorce is final?

          • When your divorce is done, the judge will write an order about your divorce. The order is called a decree.
          • The order:
            • Tells you and your spouse what you must do with your money, your debts and your property
            • Tells you and your spouse what you must do about your children.

            What if I don't agree with the divorce order?

            If you are ready to file for divorce but your spouse is not willing to sign the divorce papers, you can file for divorce by yourself. There are certain forms you must fill out and file with the court to open a divorce case. You can find instructions and all the forms you need to open a divorce case in this section.

            Make sure you understand the basic divorce concepts before filling out any forms. Visit the Divorce Overview and Custody Overview pages for an overview of the law and the legal requirements to file for divorce in Nevada.

            Step 1. Complete the Papers

            To open a divorce case, you will need to file all of the forms below :

            Cover Sheet

            This form is REQUIRED. This form asks for basic information about you, your spouse, and any children that you and your spouse have together. You are the Plaintiff and your spouse is the Defendant.

            Summons

            This form is REQUIRED. This form tells your spouse that you have filed for divorce. The form also tells your spouse that he or she must file a response within 21 days, or a default may be entered against them.

            Complaint for Divorce

            This form is REQUIRED. This form tells the judge and your spouse what you want out of the divorce. You are the Plaintiff and your spouse is the Defendant. You will check boxes and fill in blanks to tell the judge and your spouse things like:

            • What kind of child custody / visitation schedule you would like (if there are children);
            • How much child support should be ordered (if there are children);
            • How you would like to divide the property and debts;
            • If alimony should be ordered;
            • If you want to have a former name restored.

            Be sure to fill out all of the sections. If you leave something blank, the judge will not know what you are asking for, and it may slow down your case.

            Step 2. File the Papers

            After you fill out the papers above, you will need to file them with the district court in your county. Visit Find My Court if you are not sure where your local district court is located.

            The court will charge you a filing fee to file your papers. The fee is different in every county. Find out from your local court what the filing fee will be.

            If you cannot afford the filing fee, please see Filing Fees and Waivers to find out how to ask the court to waive the fee.

            Next Step: Serve the Defendant

            After you complete the steps on this page, a copy of the summons and complaint (and anything else you filed) must be hand-delivered to your spouse (the “Defendant”). The Court does not serve the papers for you. It is up to YOU to make sure your spouse gets served after you file for divorce . After you have completed the steps on this page, learn all about how to have your spouse served by visiting the How to Serve the Divorce Papers page.

            WARNING!

            The Court does not serve the papers for you . If you do not make sure the Defendant is properly served, your case could be dismissed.

            How to file divorce papers without an attorney

            The first step in the divorce process is to file a petition of divorce, which informs your spouse and the judge that you want a divorce. The person who files for divorce is the Petitioner, and it is their responsibility to give legal notice to their spouse, the Respondent, of the petition. The Respondent must file an answer within 20 days after being served to notify the court they received the divorce petition. Although a divorce lawyer is not always required for divorce cases, hiring a skilled attorney can provide peace-of-mind that these first steps are completed correctly – and can even expedite the divorce process.

            Contested vs. Uncontested

            The easiest divorce process one can experience is when both parties agree to the divorce terms. This is called an uncontested divorce. While this is the preferable scenario, it is not always so simple. The Respondent may not agree to your terms, in which case you have a contested divorce. If you and your spouse argue over the settlement of the divorce, it is best to hire a lawyer to guide you through the process.

            If your spouse fails to answer your petition of divorce by the deadline, or simply refuses to answer, you can request the judge grant your divorce by default. In a default judgment, the judge can grant the requests outlined in your divorce petition. When your spouse fails to answer the petition, it can be considered as an agreement to the terms, so the judge has no reason to deny your terms.

            If a default judgement is approved, your next step will be to prove you provided your spouse with proper notice of the divorce petition at a scheduled hearing date.

            What Happens If My Spouse Refuses to Sign the Divorce Papers?

            If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, your divorce becomes contested. While the divorce will still go through, it will likely extend the divorce process. If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce decree, you will have to set a hearing and present evidence to a judge so they can determine the terms of the divorce.

            Does My Spouse Have to Sign the Divorce Papers in Order for it to go Through?

            The quick answer is no, your spouse does not have to sign the papers in order for a divorce decree to be finalized. However, this makes your divorce contested rather than uncontested, which tends to drag the process out longer. This becomes even more complicated when there is property or children involved in the divorce.

            Likewise, you cannot stop a divorce by refusing to sign the papers. In Texas, refusing to sign divorce papers will not stop a final divorce decree. If one party is seeking a legal divorce they will get it whether the other party signs divorce papers or not.

            What Happens If My Spouse Doesn’t Respond to A Divorce Petition?

            In the event your spouse refuses to respond to a petition for divorce, the spouse will “default.” You will have to file an affidavit to the court in order to prove the divorce petition was served and you will need to provide proof that your spouse did not respond. Once these two items are presented the judge can decide default orders without the spouse’s influence. These can include items like alimony and child support.

            Learn How to Get a Divorce in Bexar County

            If you’re beginning the divorce process and aren’t sure what steps you need to take, you can read or download our How to Get a Divorce Guide. The guide goes over the steps that need to be taken in both contested and uncontested divorce scenarios. If you fall under a special circumstance like a divorce with children or military divorce, you can find answers in the guide.

            You can also set up a courtesy consultation with us. Give us a call to get started.

            If your ex-partner doesn’t want a divorce or they won’t agree to apply together or you don’t want to ask them to apply together, you can apply on your own.

            Note: When you print the forms it’s important to print them single sided.

            1. Fill in the forms in the application pack:
              One party application for divorce (Order dissolving a marriage or civil union) [PDF, 4.5 MB]
            2. Also include:
              • an original or certified copy of your marriage or civil union certificate (this is not the document you signed on the day of your marriage or civil union). Here is an example of a New Zealand marriage certificate [JPG, 670 KB] . You can get the certificate from Births, Deaths and Marriages (external link)
              • a copy of your separation agreement or Separation Order, if you have one, to prove you’ve been living apart for at least 2 years.
            3. File your application. This means your documents need to be delivered personally or posted to your local Family Court by you or your lawyer.
              The fee for applying for a divorce is $211.50 (including GST).

            Links

            What happens after you file your application

            Giving your ex-partner the divorce documents

            The court will process your application and give you a set of documents that need to be given to (served on) your ex-partner by someone else (not you).

            Proving your ex-partner has been given the divorce documents

            The person who served your documents will need to fill in an Affidavit of Service to prove that your ex-partner was given the documents.

            An easy way to do this is to get the person who served your documents to go to a Family Court. Court staff will help the person fill in the affidavit and then the court staff can witness it and accept it for filing.

            If you don’t know where your ex-partner is living

            If you’re applying for a divorce and don’t know where your ex-partner is living, you can ask the court if you can change the way the documents are served (this is called substituted service).

            However, you must try to locate your ex-partner yourself first before applying for substituted service. For example, you should check the phone book and electoral roll, contact their family or friends, or try to find them online.

            You’ll need to give this form to your local Family Court.

            What happens after the divorce documents have been served

            Once your ex-partner has been given the divorce documents, they have a set time to decide if they want to ask the Family Court not to approve the divorce. This is called defending the application. This is usually:

            • 21 days after the documents are served in New Zealand
            • 30 days if they are served in Australia
            • 50 days for anywhere else in the world.

            If your ex-partner asks the court not to make the Dissolution Order

            If your ex-partner asks the court not to approve the divorce, then there will be a defended hearing in front of a Family Court judge. The judge will hear from both of you and decide if there are grounds to make the Dissolution Order.

            You will be legally divorced 1 month after the date the Dissolution Order is made. A copy will be sent to you at that stage.

            If your ex-partner doesn’t do anything in the set time

            If your ex-partner doesn’t do anything in the set time and you don’t want to appear in court, the court will check that the requirements are met and, if they are, make the Dissolution Order. The court will write to you to tell you the order has been made. 1 month after the order is made, it will become final and a copy will be sent to you.

            If you want to appear in court, the court will tell you when you need to come to court. At the hearing, a judge will make the Dissolution Order and the divorce will be final on that day. The court will send copies of the Dissolution Order to both of you.

            Most divorce lawyers will tell you that getting a divorce without a lawyer is a terrible idea. Now, coming from people who make their living helping people get divorced, that advice might sound self-serving—but it’s often right. Sometimes, the money you save on legal fees isn’t saved at all, because you end up paying more or getting less in support, or you get a property settlement that turns out to be unfavorable.

            So, yes: getting divorced without a lawyer can be a bad idea. But it doesn’t have to be. In the right circumstances and with the proper preparation, do-it-yourself divorce can be quick and efficient, and let you move on with your life with less expense and stress.

            Note the words “in the right circumstances” and “with the proper preparation” in the paragraph above. Some situations really do call for an attorney’s help. And if you choose not to have an attorney do the heavy lifting in your divorce case, you must be prepared to do some legal research and protect your own interests. Otherwise, you may end up paying a lawyer more to try to fix a bad situation that could have been avoided had you had the right legal help from the start.

            If you think you might be interested in divorce without a lawyer, read on for some DIY divorce tips.

            DIY Divorce Tip #1: Make Sure DIY Divorce is Right for You.

            No matter how much time or money do-it-yourself divorce might seem to save, it’s not worth it in certain situations. Here are some situations in which divorcing without a lawyer might make sense. The more of these factors you have on your side, the more likely it is that you will be able to divorce without a lawyer’s help:

            • You and your spouse are on good terms and the decision to divorce is mutual.
            • You agree on all or most of the terms of your divorce.
            • Your marriage has been brief.
            • You don’t own a lot of property together.
            • You are knowledgeable about the family finances.
            • You don’t have children together or you both already agree on a shared parenting schedule and are able to readily communicate daily about your children’s needs.
            • Neither you nor your spouse need to depend on the other for financial support.

            On the other hand, there are some red flags that suggest that do-it-yourself divorce papers are a bad idea, and you would benefit from an attorney’s help:

            • Your relationship is contentious and you do not agree on the terms of your divorce.
            • One of you does not want the divorce.
            • There has been domestic violence in your relationship.
            • There are mental health or substance abuse issues in the relationship.
            • There are substantial or complex assets to divide in the divorce.
            • You do not trust your spouse to be honest, or fear they might hide assets or otherwise dispose of marital property that should be divided between you.
            • You don’t know a lot about the family finances.
            • You have minor children and disagree about how the children should spend time with each of you, or you are not confident that the children will be safe in your spouse’s custody.
            • Either you or your spouse might need financial support from the other spouse.
            • One spouse’s misconduct (such as an affair or losing a lot of money gambling) is a major cause of the divorce.
            • Your spouse has a divorce attorney.

            What if, like many couples, you fall somewhere in the middle? You might be on pretty good terms, and generally agree about most of the terms of your divorce, but haven’t nailed down the details. You also have kids and you both want them to live primarily with you, and your spouse knows more about the family finances than you do.

            It doesn’t mean that you can’t file divorce papers yourself, but it does mean that you will need to do more work and research to make sure your interests are protected.

            DIY Divorce Tip #2: Get Your Ducks in a Row

            If, after considering the above, you still think do-it-yourself divorce is the best option, you need to prepare. It’s great if you feel that your spouse is honest, but as the old Russian proverb says, “Trust, but verify.”

            • Make copies of all financial documents, including tax returns, bank statements, retirement and investment accounts, credit card accounts, pay stubs, mortgage documents, and appraisals of any valuables.
            • Prepare a list of all assets and their value.
            • Consider consulting an accountant to discuss the tax consequences of taking certain property in the divorce.
            • If you are worried your spouse might go through your mail, get a PO Box.
            • Sign a written agreement with your spouse that neither of you will transfer, spend, waste or destroy any marital assets, or make any large expenditures or incur any debt without the other person’s consent while you are working on your divorce.
            • Figure out what your living expenses are now and what they will be after divorce to make sure you know what kind of budget you will need to be on. Don’t negotiate a settlement without understanding what your future needs will be.
            • Sit down with your spouse and try to work out the details of who will receive which assets in the divorce.
            • If you have children, sit down with your spouse and try to work out a parenting time schedule.
            • Be mindful about signing an interim agreement about custody or support with your spouse since a court could later decide to continue the existing agreement.

            Once you are confident you have a handle on what needs to be addressed in your divorce, go to your county court’s website and review the process for filing a divorce on your own—but don’t be afraid to seek further help if you need to, and avoid making these DIY divorce mistakes.

            DIY Divorce Tip #3: Remember That DIY Doesn’t Need to Be All-or-Nothing.

            Do you really need a lawyer for a divorce? The truth is, it depends. But something a lot of lawyers won’t tell you is that legal help with a divorce doesn’t need to be all-or-nothing. For example, if you and your spouse mostly agree but need a little help finalizing your agreement, mediation can help you get there. If you’ve reached an agreement, but want to be sure it protects your interests, you can hire an attorney just to review your divorce settlement agreement. You can work with an attorney just to draft your agreement so that it complies with legal requirements, or to appear with you in court. It’s really based on your needs, and there are lots of options for getting help with a do-it-yourself divorce.

            If you have more questions about filing for divorce in Minnesota, or are considering getting a divorce without a lawyer, we invite you to contact Mundahl Law to schedule a consultation.