Filing For Divorce
Understandably, filing for divorce is a highly emotional process for most people, but it is important to note: it is also a process governed by strict procedural requirements.
Failure to follow the requirements could add more undue burden on an already taxing issue. In this session, we’ll provide you with the basics, in layman’s terms, to help you quickly grasp what you’ll need to get through this potentially difficult situation.
Filing For Divorce - The Jurisdiction
When filing for divorce, it is vitally important that you file in the proper jurisdiction. The jurisdiction generally depends on the state and county in which one or both of the divorcing parties lives. If you file n the improper jurisdiction, your divorce petition is null and void. Its as if you never filed.
Filing For Divorce – Residency Requirements
Different states usually have different residency requirements. There is usually a minimum period of residence within the state and within the county before the court has jurisdiction to hear a divorce case.
Filing For Divorce – The Divorce Petition
The divorce petition generally includes factual information such as: such as the husband, wife, and any children’s names, whether there is any separate or community property, child custody, child support and spousal support.
Filing For Divorce –Grounds For Divorce
The divorce petition must also include the legal grounds for divorce. Most states now have “no-fault” grounds for divorce; which means that when filing for divorce, no one is required to place an accusation against the other to initiate the dissolution of their marital union.
In a “fault” divorce, providing the court with evidence of your legal grounds in filing for divorce may be required, (i.e., abandonment, adultery, abuse, domestic violence, marital fraud, paternity fraud, etc. The acceptable legal grounds in filing for a divorce varies from state to state.
Filing For Divorce –Service of Process
Once completed, the divorce petition must be served on your spouse. This process varies from state to state. For instance, in some jurisdictions, you may have to hire a private process server, while in others, you may utilize the Sheriff's department, certified mail or other special options for divorce petitioners who have no knowledge of their spouse’s whereabouts.
Filing For Divorce – Answering The Divorce Petition
After the divorce petition has been filed and properly served, as with any civil lawsuit, the person being sued as the opportunity by law to answer the petition. In this case the non-filing party is classified or generally referred to as the “Respondent,” in divorce cases. At this point, the respondent can admit or deny in claims in the divorce petition and in many cases, may file a cross petition, making their own allegations.
Filing For Divorce – The Next Step
What takes place next depends first and foremost on the ability of the parties to agree on the terms of the divorce. If the divorce is uncontested, meaning both parties can agree on all issues, things will happen rather quickly depending on the state. In some states, this type of divorce could happen in 30 days. If the divorce escalates into a contested divorce, the inflexibility of the parties and the complexity of the case determines how long the process will last,