How to Fill out Divorce Papers

By Jonathan Bales , last updated June 21, 2011

Even if you and your spouse agree on how everything should be split and how a divorce should proceed, you still want to find a lawyer to help you fill out your divorce papers. There are a lot of little details that go into divorce paperwork, and you want to make sure you get it right the first time. Plus, you never know when your soon-to-be-ex will change their mind regarding how things should be split, and a lawyer will help you if that situation arises. When you have finished filling out the paperwork, call the courthouse and determine where you should file your petition for divorce. This will have to be filed in either circuit or superior court, depending on in which state you live.

When you fill out the paperwork, you will need to figure out the reason for the divorce. A no-fault divorce, also known as "irreconcilable differences," means you both played a hand in the failure of the marriage. A grounds divorce, however, means one spouse believes the other was at fault for the failure of the marriage. Next, someone must file the petition for divorce. It does not matter which person does this, but the divorce cannot proceed until that petition is filed. If you have children, you can also file papers for temporary custody and support at the same time. If you are the one who files the papers, make sure you have proof of it. Make sure you have the papers served in a respectful way, such as in the evening and never at work.

When you go through the process of actually filling out the forms, you should have insurance papers, birth certificates, marriage licenses, property deeds, vehicle titles, tax records, bank account information, mortgage and loan accounts and retirement funds on hand. This will help you or your lawyer fill out the papers in a timely manner. Also keep in mind that things like custody of children, visitation schedules, tax dependency, indemnification of future debts and settlements may come up. Be prepared to handle all of these issues.

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