No matter what is the reason behind your divorce, the amount of information you need to gather and the list of paperwork you need to file can be daunting. Until you have the right resources, you may not be able to go for the whole divorce process in a systematic manner. It is not like you go to the court and simple ask for a divorce order. There are plenty of tasks involved in a divorce.
In the USA divorce laws are under the state jurisdiction and hence you need to prepare your divorce documents as per the laws of state where you have decided to file the divorce petition. It is the state courts that have power over divorce proceedings, so if you are planning to get divorce you need to gain knowledge regarding the requirements and details for filing a divorce petition. Also you can download the various divorce application forms, fill them in and present them to your local courthouse.
For getting a divorce legally you need to file an initial document called a divorce ‘petition’ or ‘complaint’ with the appropriate court. This original petition form for divorce is also known as application form for divorce. This is the first document you file with the court if you want to get a divorce. The petition informs the court of the desire of a person to end the marriage, and its filing with the court signifies the initiation of the divorce process.
In some of the US states, the superior or circuit court have the provision of a specific family court division where you can file the divorce petition and here the final hearing of the divorce case will also take place. There are also some US states, where no specific family court division is designated. In such states you can file the divorce petition in the main civil division of the superior or circuit court. Most states in the US have a residency requirement for filing a divorce in the state’s court system. Hence, before you do that, make sure that you are eligible to file for divorce in that particular state.
In the United States, as divorce law is a state matter, each of the state has its own requirements for the formatting and contents of a divorce petition. So, the main contents of the petition application vary as per the state jurisdiction where you reside. However, in most of the US states the divorce petition will have to include information such as the petitioner’s identifying information, details regarding the marriage, type of divorce sought, family information, and the grounds or reasons for divorce. The petition may also include, or make reference to declaration or request as to how the petitioner would like to settle finances, property division, child custody, and other issues related to divorce. In most places, a copy of the divorce petition must be served to the petitioner’s spouse to notify him or her that the divorce process has begun. Until the other person is not notified the divorce proceeding cannot move forward.
Once you have filled the petition or application form correctly, you must file it in court and then arrange for its service to his spouse. In some US States you can personally hand or mail the petition to your spouse, and in some states you need to request the local law enforcement or a private process server to deliver the petition. Upon receiving the petition, your spouse can file a response agreeing to or challenging the petition. On the hearing date based on the petition form the further formalities of divorce process takes place.
It is important to note that the requests made in a divorce petition or the application may not be granted by the divorce court judge. Judges are responsible for ensuring that the petitioner has legitimate reasons for requesting the divorce. If the judge feels that any one of the party are lying or not satisfied with the terms of the petition, then the judge may not give judgment on the first hearing date. Another date will be given so that both the parties can decide upon the terms of petitions. If they cannot come to a conclusion, then the court will finally set the terms of the petitions on the basis of the papers submitted by both the parties. Here the judge will take into consideration the benefits of child custody, the financial condition of both the parties and other important aspects.
To help you understand, here are sample divorce petition forms:
To conclude, the above samples of divorce application forms can be of great help for you. But remember that as US divorce laws vary from state to state and the above samples are for a particular state only. Check out the official website of your state to know about the exact divorce process and you can even find sample forms related to divorce proceedings there.