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Step 1 - CHOOSE YOUR STATE - Choose the State you currently reside in as that will be where you will have to file. It does not matter if you were married in another State. You must file your divorce in the State where you are a resident.
Step 2 - PETITION - The divorce process begins with the filing of a petition. The spouse filing is known as the "Petitioner" and the receiver of the petition is known as the "Respondent". The most common reason for filing is "irreconcilable differences" for a no-fault divorce because it does not allow any negative reasons for the divorce becoming public. In the Petition, the following must be negotiated:
Alimony, Child Support, and Custody
The Repayment of Debts
Dividing of all assets and property
The Petitioner must file the completed dissolution of marriage petition with the County Clerk's Office where you reside. (It does not matter if you were born or married in another State).
*The Petition must be authorized by both Spouses in front of a notary public.
Step 3 - SERVING NOTICE - There are five ways to serve your spouse the divorce papers if he or she does not currently reside in your residence and is not able to authorize the divorce papers submitted to the County Clerk.
1.Can be delivered personally by someone over the age of 18 (cannot be your child).
2.Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested is the Most Popular way to serve your spouse. The post office will automatically send you the receipt upon serving your spouse the divorce papers.
3. Hire the Sheriff or professional process server to handle the serving of your spouse if they are hard to find.
4. First Class Mail with an Acknowledgement Form that your spouse would need to Sign, Date, and Send Back (Not Recommended)
5. If all these processes fail the court will allow you to make a publication in the local newspaper where the spouse is a resident and you must submit a copy of the publication to present to the court.
Upon your Spouse receiving the divorce papers he or she will have 30 days to respond to the Petition.
Step 4 - DISCOVERY - If the negotiation of the assets cannot be made, the court may declare a "Discovery", which is a detailed report of all assets, debts, and income of the Spouses. Upon agreement both Spouses will authorize a Marital Settlement Agreement. During this phase, the lawyers representing each party must keep the Court up to date with the status of the negotiations.
Step 5 - DIVORCE HEARING - Upon completion of all the forms the State of will request a hearing. At that time, the judge will look over the and may make changes to any of the following agreements made pertaining to; Assets, Alimony, Child Support, Custody, and any other anything the judge may consider amending. At this time you will receive your Certificate of Divorce, you may have to submit it to the proper Government Agencies, typically the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
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