Although divorce laws differ by state, FindLaw explains that a divorce letter, or a divorce petition, typically contains the name of the petitioner, the petitioner's spouse, the place and date of the marriage, the names and ages of any children, and the grounds, or reasons, for the divorce. The petitioner must also assert that the couple has lived in the court's jurisdiction for a specific amount of time.Know More
Another aspect of a divorce petition is a request that the court issue temporary orders regarding various issues related to the divorce. According to FindLaw, these include child custody and financial arrangements, such as establishing who is the primary custodial parent; visitation schedules for the noncustodial parent; child support; alimony payments; disposition of the family home; and the payment of bills. The exact requirements and standards vary by state.
Grounds for divorce also vary by state, but Wikipedia explains that adultery, abandonment, cruelty, mental illness and incarceration are grounds for divorce in most states. Additionally, all states allow some form of uncontested divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences. This type of divorce is easier to obtain and far less expensive than an adversarial proceeding, but both parties must agree to the terms. FindLaw warns that some states refuse to grant uncontested divorces when minor children or complicated financial concerns are involved.Learn more about Law
Should a spouse refuse to sign divorce papers, it is still possible to proceed with the divorce by filing legal paperwork as a single petitioner. According to LegalZoom, a spouse's signature is only necessary if both parties are agreeing to the divorce petition by filing jointly. Alternatively, one spouse can obtain a legal complaint for divorce (not the joint version), fill it out and file it.Full Answer >
The drawbacks to a legal separation versus a divorce include complex paperwork and court filings, emotional stress and an unnecessary, extra step if the couple plans to dissolve the marriage eventually, according to JacksonWhite Family Law Office. A legal separation may also create additional expenses for the couple.Full Answer >
Filing for divorce requires asking the courts for a final dissolution of the marriage, while a legal separation does not put an end to the marriage, according to Cathy Meyer for About.com. A legal separation allows couples to remain married while living separately.Full Answer >
Legal aid in divorce cases is often available to people with income below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, victims of domestic abuse and in special circumstances, such as custody cases where children are victims of abuse, according to About.com. Legal aid provides low-cost and no-cost legal services.Full Answer >