If you’re thinking about divorce, you probably have many questions. A divorce is governed by the state in which you live, so the procedures may vary a little. Here are some things to know about filing for divorce and getting started.
Where Do You File for Divorce?
Most states have a residency requirement before you can file for divorce. You must have lived in the location for at least six months in most cases before you can file. You would file at the local county courthouse.
How Do You File a Petition for Divorce?
Once you know where to file, you would file a document with the court to end your marriage. A lawyer can help you access this document. You may also be able to find forms online. There may be a fee when you give the court the petition. Once the court receives the petition, you have to notify, or serve, your spouse with the notice.
How Long Do You Have to Wait?
Divorce proceedings move at their own pace. Generally, you and your spouse will be given an opportunity to work out the details of your divorce. You have to divide up assets and debts. You’ll have to work out child custody issues. The time it takes to decide all these things depends on many factors. You may want to work with a mediator to help you through these tough decisions. Complex marital issues may go on for years, but most divorces are finalized within a year. Once the court rules on the divorce, there may be another waiting period of 3 to 12 months before the divorce actually becomes final.
How Much Will It Cost?
The filing fee for divorce in the United States ranges from $50 to $450, depending on the state and county. You can check with the court clerk to find the fee for your jurisdiction. Most courts also have a fee waiver program, which lets you petition for a divorce without paying a filing fee. You’ll have to submit your income and expenses when you request this, but it might be an option.
How Will Your Property Be Divided?
State laws determine how assets and debts are divided in a divorce. You and your spouse may be able to work out an equitable division yourself, which can shorten the time it takes to get a divorce. However, you always talk to a family lawyer, about your divorce to make sure you aren’t overlooking something important.