The decision to divorce is never an easy one. But when divorce is the only option, spending thousands on lawyers and spending months or years in a court battle isn’t necessary. If you and your spouse can work together, you might be able to get a quickie divorce.
No Fault Divorce is Faster
The waiting period for divorce differ from state to state. There are states that have practically no waiting period at all. Some have waiting periods of up to two years. Use our Divorce Law Summaries by State to get an idea of your local divorce requirements.
No fault divorces, where you and your spouse have reached an agreement on child custody and debt/property division are the most painless way to get divorced (if there is such a thing).
The following is a more detailed list of the topics you’ll need to discuss with your future ex before deciding if a do-it-yourself quickie divorce is right for your situation:
Decide who gets what. This includes all personal and joint property you accumulated as a couple, and even before. Everything is on the table here. The items you should inventory include: household furnishings, bank and investment accounts, cars/recreation vehicles and real estate.
Debt should be divided according to ability to pay, who actually took on the debt, and the division of the property.
If either you or your soon-to-be ex opted to leave the workforce in order to raise children, take care of a family member, or because of an illness or disability, alimony may be warranted. However, be very cautious when entering into an agreement to pay alimony or spousal support. Modifying such agreements can be tough.
Child Custody/Visitation/Holiday Schedule Arrangement
Decisions about who will be the custodial parent (the parent children live with for at least 51 percent of the time) how often the non-custodial parent will have access to the kids should be decided in advance. An outline of holidays and which parent will have the children on what day should also be outlined in advance.
Non-custodial parents are obligated, by law, to pay child support to the custodial parents. To determine how much child support should be paid in your situation, check your state’s website for a child support worksheet or calculator.
Do the Paperwork
In a quickie divorce, you and your spouse will have to work together to complete all the required forms and documents. The next step is to find state approved forms for uncontested divorces. To locate the proper forms, follow the steps below:
- Simply Google “[my state] divorce forms.” For example, if you live in Nevada, you would search “Nevada divorce forms.”
- Contact your county clerk’s office. County representatives can guide you to the proper web sites to download the needed forms or inform you that you need to come to the office to obtain certain forms.
After you’ve completed all the necessary forms, go over the documents to make sure that you’ve followed all of the instructions, that each answer is as complete as possible. Be sue to print and use only black ink. If you have questions or issues in filling out the forms, you can contact your county clerk or contact the Bar Association to get contact information for low cost or pro-bono attorneys.
The next step is to file the forms with your family court. The forms should be filed in the county you reside in. You’ll need multiple copies of the forms. There will also be a filing fee which is different in each county.
Finalizing Your Quickie Divorce
Uncontested divorces don’t usually require court appearances, but some counties may hold a brief hearing. Now it’s time to file your proposed final decree, along with any other documents your state requires. Once the judge signs it, a copy will be mailed to you. In most states, the time between filing and receiving the final decree is only a matter of weeks. The final decree indicates that you are officially divorced.
The process is rich in detail, and even the smallest mistake on a form or oversight in filing the correct form can lead to a delay. Be sure to look over the paperwork several times before filing, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney. Most are willing to give limited advice in filing, but don’t expect too much.
Divorce is painful enough. There are options out there for consenting adults to dissolve their union when they collectively decide to not make the process even more painful.
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