Filing for Divorce: Know What Forms You’ll Need

Going through a divorce can be an emotional time. It doesn’t matter the reason behind the divorce. What matters is getting through it with the least amount of damage, both emotional and financial. You considered talking to an attorney but decided against it when you heard what they would charge you just to help you complete the initial paperwork. If any of the divorce was contested, you could end up spending more money than your house is worth.

These days there are a number of ways you can file for a divorce without having to shell out the big bucks to hire an attorney. If the divorce is amicable, you can pay for a service like LegalZoom and have all of the proper forms filled out and filed for a fraction of the cost that an attorney would charge you. To make sure that you don’t miss any important details, here is a list of the forms and information that you will need in order to file for divorce without the assistance of an attorney.

Petition

When the process for divorce has been started, a complaint for divorce is filed. The complaint identifies the parties, and states the grounds for the divorce, according to the Divorce Net site. In the complaint you will stipulate all the claims that you are making against your spouse, the defendant. It will also contain your request to the court to grant you the divorce, grant you custody of children if any are involved, a request to divide the property, as well as a request to order support from your spouse. The petition complaint has to be filed with the court and served to your spouse along with a summons to appear before the judge.

Financial Affidavit

The financial affidavit is the form that you and your spouse will have to fill out regarding all of your income, expenses and debt. This requires more than simply scanning through the credit card statements or flipping through your check register. Properly preparing the financial affidavit can get you temporary support payments, temporary child support, and can go toward the final divorce settlement according to Jeffrey Landers writer for More. Before you fill out this paperwork, make sure you understand what your state’s Courts require of you and that you have all of the correct paperwork to fill out. Before you begin filling out the information that is requested on a financial affidavit it is helpful to get yourself organized and gather your bank statements, credit card statements, life insurance policies, retirement account statements, household bills, and income statements.

Along with filling out your own financial affidavit, you will also have to go through the affidavit that your spouse files with the court and provide an answer to the information they have provided. If neither one of you wants to head to the court to provide your answers, they can be agreed upon and sent into the court. If you don’t agree with the information in their affidavit, then you will have to appear at the court date that was set by the court.

Settlement Agreement

Even if you and your spouse are in total agreement about your divorce, the settlement must still be approved by your county court. This is especially true if children are involved. The settlement agreement will include the final court order for distribution of marital property and assets explains the Laws website. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on the property and support the judge will make the decision, listing specific ownership of all property and assets that were accumulated during the marriage. The shared debt will also need to be considered, and the judge can make the determination of who will be responsible for paying it if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement beforehand.

Divorce Decree

Once all of the property has been divided and all other matters have been settled, the judge will make the final ruling on your divorce. You will be sent an official document from the court that grants the termination of your marriage, explains the USA.gov website. The document will include the specific details of your divorce, and you need to make sure you have a number of official copies on hand to send to any companies from which you have joint accounts opened with your former spouse.

Making the decision to end your marriage is never easy. There are a number of things you have to consider before you start the process. If you’ve made up your mind to go through with the divorce, you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. You can forgo the attorney and file out the paperwork yourself as long as you make sure that you don’t miss any information and pay all of the filing fees involved.

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