Documents to Start a Divorce
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Complaint for Divorce (Petition for Dissolution)
The person filing for divorce is called the plaintiff or petitioner. The primary document is called The Complaint for Divorce,or Petition for Dissolution. This document informs the Court that he or she is requesting a divorce and states the grounds for the divorce. This document also contains basic information about the parties,including names, addresses, dates of birth as well as the date of marriage and more. The complaint petition also lists the children of the marriage and the wishes of the filing spouse with regard to custody of the children, and alimony spousal support if requested. This document must be filled out entirely, with no mistakes, and must be signed in front of a notary public.
A Summons notifies the responding spouse that a divorce action has been filed and that he or she has a deadline to file an answer to the complaint petition.
What If I Can’t Afford the Filing Fee?
You may ask the court to waive it the filing fee, due to financial hardship, you are unable to afford it. This is done by filling a written request for a fee waiver. In order to file a fee waiver, you will need to give an explanation of your income and expenses and it will be sworn under oath and signed in front of a notary public.
If you choose to not have a lawyer represent you in your divorce, you are know as Pro Se filer. It is legal to represent yourself, but do not expect the Clerks at the Couthouse to give you legal advice or spend a lot of time explaining paperwork to you. Some clerks can be very uncooperative. At Affordable Divorce Documents, we understand the entire process and what needs to happen and when. We take the hassle out of dealing with legal paperwork, even filing it for you, after its been completed.
Documents Involving Property and Debts
In order to divide property, assets and liabilities there needs to be complete financial disclosures. It is very important that the information contained in them does not contradict the information about property and debts contained in the other documents, namely the settlement agreement and possibly the decree judgment.
The settlement agreement details the terms of the property and the division between the parties. Even if there is no property or debt to be divided, the settlement agreement includes important provisions about the divorce.
When one or both spouses own real estate, the following information will be needed:
- street address
- the legal description
- approximate fair market value of the property
- details about any mortgages and/or home equity loans including the name of the lenders and amounts.
Properties are sometimes sold or awarded to one spouse. In this case determination of how the spouses will distribute expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes and property insurance while the sale is pending, as well as how any proceeds or deficiencies of the sale will be distributed.
Other Personal Property
Vehicles: include the make model year
Retirement Accounts and Pensions (requires special treatment)
Other property of significant value.
Divorce documents should list secured debt such as mortgage or car loans as well as joint debts. Failing to state how debt will be distributed can cause problems later on, especially if one or more spouses remarry.
When You Have Children Together
Here is a list of some of the inportant considerations to consider when filing your divorce documents without an attorney.
- Child Support Options
- Child Support Payment Options
- Payment of Educational Expenses
- Child Support Worksheet
- Child-Support Orders of Income Withholding Deduction Orders
- Health Insurance Documents
- Medical Insurance
- Payment of uninsured And Unreimbursed Medical’s
- Life insurance Child Custody and Parenting Time
- Transportation and Exchange of the Children
- Parent Education Requirement
- Parenting Plan
- Settlement Agreement
- Child Custody Affidavit
Deviating from the child support guidelines complicates the divorce. This happens primarily when the amount selected varies significantly from the Child Support Guidelines. In that case, the Judge might question if the deviation is truly in the best interest of the children.
Other Important Considerations
- Dealing with Bankruptcy
- Filing Federal and State Income Taxes
- Tax consequences of property debt division and spousal support
- Setting the Hearing
- Notifying the responding spouse of the hearing
- Proper Attire and Conduct for Court