How to Start a Divorce

Suffice to say that if you are too unhappy with your marriage, you usually would seek a divorce. Some of the reasons for divorce include adultery, desertion, miscommunications, and irreconcilable differences.

If you are new to divorce, understand what it means first: It is the process of legally terminating a marriage contract. So the question now is: How to start a divorce?

First of all, you need to find a lawyer — one who is best for your kind of situation, who can fight for you in court. A lawyer will help you reach a mutual agreement with your spouse in decisions like the division of property, child support, child custody, and the protection of your assets. You can’t just simply ask for help from your co-workers, family members, your acquaintances, or a friend who has had a divorce. It is best to ask for a legal professional.

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There are types of divorces wherein a lawyer can help you:

  1. Litigation

You will need to pay a lawyer to help you throughout the divorce case. The lawyer will help with all the important decisions and in case you want any properties and assets to keep. This kind of divorce is really expensive because you have to pay the lawyer with an hourly rate.

  1. Collaborative

Besides the lawyer, you will also need a child specialist and a financial specialist for the divorce. They will help you with child support and all the financial statements in the divorce process. This method is usually less expensive since you just need to pay each specialist their fee.

But if you do not want the help of a lawyer, you can choose these methods:

  1. Mediation

Hire a mediator who can help you reach a mutual understanding and agreement with your spouse. This type of divorce is cheaper than litigation since you only need to pay the fee of the mediator.

  1. Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

You will proceed with the court hearing without the help of a lawyer. You will file all the legal documents by yourself and will only need to pay the court fee.

Once you have decided to go ahead with the divorce (with or without a lawyer), it’s time to file a divorce petition to submit to the court. You need to have permission from the court to divorce and you need to show the reasons why you need one. The petition form should have your full name and address, your spouse’s full name and address, the name of your children, and your marriage certificate. You will need to pay the court fee and it depends on which US state you are in.

When you send the divorce petition, your spouse will receive the petition. It’s his or her call to agree or disagree with the divorce. If your spouse doesn’t respond to your petition within 21 days, you can still proceed with the divorce.

If your spouse agrees to the divorce, you can apply for a decree nisi which says that the judge or court will allow you to have a divorce and doesn’t see why you shouldn’t. To do this, you will need to fill out an application form. You will need to give a statement on why you need a divorce, to which the judge will agree or disagree. A judge can disagree if he or she needs more information on why you need to divorce.

After having the decree nisi, you will receive the decree absolute which is the legal document that ends your marriage.

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