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Legal Zoom Review: A Big Name, But Does That Mean Big Value?

lz-sliderLegal Zoom is a name you’ve probably heard, provided you’ve ever been online. The site has received a great deal of notoriety both on the web and in broadcast media, in part because of all the people who’ve utilized it. 

To date, Legal Zoom has served more than two million clients. Of course, not all of those clients are looking for a do-it-yourself divorce, as the site also offers forms and advice for starting your business and operating it as well as wills, trusts, and a variety of other family-specific documents. 

A Jack Of All Trades

While Legal Zoom gives clients access to whatever legal issue they need help with, some people considering divorce may be intimidated by the fact that there is no specialization. Nevertheless, the site offers a great deal of support in each area. For those mulling the DIY route, it’s in a select company that includes sites like MyDivorceDocuments, CompleteCase, and MyDivorcePapers.

When it comes to divorce forms, there’s really nothing to worry about here. Each document is state-specific, so for example, if you need the most current California divorce forms, you can bring them up with a click, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be completing an outdated document. 

While the $299 price tag — as of July 2014 — is a bit higher than some of its competition, the brand is a strong one and the instructions for filling out the forms once you decide to file for divorce are quite simple.

Sweetening the deal, Legal Zoom has a staff that goes over your forms after you’ve filled them out to make sure that you have the proper formatting to file.

Lastly, Legal Zoom has a detailed FAQ section that can answer most questions you’ll have without the aid of a human being. The site can guide you with answers for questions like: “What if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?,” “How is property generally divided between the spouses?,” and “What are the options for child custody?” 

(The even have parenting plan forms that you can use for a smoother transition when kids are involved.) 

In Summary

While you may find more value out of a site like TotalDivorce or MyDivorcePapers, which specialize in the process, Legal Zoom has certainly been around the block and proven its staying power and value to most of the customers that it serves. 

CompleteCase Review: How Does It Rank?

complete case reviewWhen looking at the do-it-yourself divorce options online, it’s common to feel overwhelmed. There are many services out there that vary in quality, and since it’s such an important decision, you want to make sure that you choose wisely. After all, some sites can cut corners on checking the accuracy of their forms while offering little in way of support. When you’re already dealing with the emotional turmoil of divorce, that only makes a tough situation tougher.

But DIY divorce doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, one such site, CompleteCase, makes it rather simple. 

How It Works

CompleteCase offers a simple and relatively inexpensive process that gives you finished divorce documents in as little as 20 minutes, though this will vary somewhat based on your relationship’s unique situation. 

Using the CompleteCase interface, you submit to a short online interview, answer each question honestly, and obtain your results almost instantly. The site offers forms customized to each client’s state, children, income, assets and any other factors involved in the case. It really is as simple as following instructions, printing, signing and filing with the court.

While the company’s website touts appearances on such programs as Good Morning America and news shows for all the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) as selling points, the real tidbit that clients will find the most appealing is the save-as-you-go process.

If you don’t have all the answers or you’re just weighted down by the emotional challenges present when you file for divorce, you can take a break from the proceedings, fix something to eat, watch a favorite show, or have a good cry, and the forms will be waiting on you, ready to finish when you’re feeling up to it.

And Perhaps The Biggest Benefits…

Many sites offer a forms completion service, but they’re ill-equipped to handle any questions and concerns that you may have as you’re filling out the forms. CompleteCase is one of a handful that offer phone and email support from experienced legal professionals as well as access to local attorneys. 

Last but not least, if you have to make changes throughout the process — and many of us who’ve experienced divorce know how common this is — you can do so at no extra charge. 

In Summary

While I would stop short of saying that it’s the best site on the Internet for DIY divorce, it certainly stands out. There are a few other sites, like iDivorceForms, LegalZoom, and TotalDivorce that you may wish to consider as well, but CompleteCase is certainly in it with these other top sites.

What Should I Expect During My Divorce Process?

Are you considering a divorce and wondering what the process will be like?

Divorce can be a very emotional and a frustrating process.   Every state has different divorce laws that will establish what you go through once you have made the final decision.  There are several steps and procedures that need to be done in order to get the divorce process started.  Always remember that every divorce is unique in its own way, so there may be difficult times, frustrating moments and challenges with your spouse.

Some states do not have laws that allow a couple to take part in a legal separation.  In those states, you must stay married until the court decides otherwise.  If your state law allows couples to separate legally when one or the other spouse leaves the family residence, your lawyer will petition the courts for a legal separation.  If you are among the millions of people who have chosen to do their own divorce, then ordering a do it yourself divorce kit that contains a marital settlement agreement will accomplish this task as well.  This contract protects the interests of each individual including children of the marriage by making sure that both spouses meet their legal responsibilities to one another.  If your state does not have laws that allow a legal separation your next step would be to contact your lawyer or file a petition at the courts yourself asking for a hearing so that a temporary separation can be ordered.  This will happen after filing a petition for divorce in states with a no legal separation law.

A document called “Original Petition for Divorce” will start the divorce process and is filed with your local court.  In some states, this is referred to as a “Letter of Complaint.” Both documents are requests for the court to grant a divorce and list any information the filing spouse feels is necessary.  The original petition will recognize the parties to the divorce and any children they may have.  The party filing for divorce will have to state a reason as part of the petition or letter.  In most states, this will be “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility.” The person filing for the divorce will be named the “petitioner” by the courts while the other party to the divorce is referred to as the “respondent” or, in some states, the “defendant.”

The original petition or letter of complaint is then served to the respondent.  Normally a member of the local sheriff’s office serves the petition.  Those of you who choose to use a do it yourself  divorce process, you will be able to serve your spouse on your own.  Once the respondent has been served he / she has thirty days to hire a lawyer and respond to the original petition for divorce.   An uncontested divorce where both parties get along there is no need to hire an attorney if you can reach an agreement yourselves.   It is at this time that either party may ask for protective orders, restraining orders or temporary orders pertaining to child support and temporary allowance.

After the petition is served on the respondent, mediation is highly recommended to try and come to an agreement outside of court.  By using the Do It Yourself method you will both need to agree and settle your own disputes if any.  If you are lucky, this is as far as you will get in the process.  During mediation, both parties to the divorce and their attorney’s meet to discuss any disputes they may have and try to come to an agreement that meets the needs of one another.  The “mediator” is a court appointed attorney, and he is there to negotiate a settlement between the parties.

If you are unable to come to an agreement during mediation, a trial date will be set.  During the trial, both parties have the chance to claim their case before a judge.  The judge will then examine all the evidence and make a decision based on what he feels would be a proper settlement and conclusion.

After the judge has made a decision, both parties to the divorce will sign the final decree of divorce.  The final decree states who gets what, any orders pertaining to custody of the children, child support amounts, any ordered spousal maintenance and any other issues pertinent to the dissolution of the marriage.

If you do not agree with the court orders, you may then file a motion to appeal the order and request a new hearing. This motion is filed with the original judge.  Please note that not many judges are going to set aside their own orders. You should not be surprised when the courts deny your motion.  When the court denies your motion, you are able to file an appeal with the state appellate court.

Marriages of short length or where no children are involved will see their way through the process much faster.  If you do have children and have accumulated assets during your marriage you should not be surprised when the divorce seems to turn into a long, drawn out and at times, frustrating process.  Try to stay patient because the Family Court System is hard at work trying to protect the interest of all parties involved in a divorce action.

As you can see the divorce process can be daunting.  Please take a moment to visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com where you are able to save both time and money by doing your divorce with easy to read divorce forms and a simple divorce kit.

Does a Low-Cost Divorce Really Exist?

Separating from your spouse can be very economical if you play your cards right.

It can also be very costly if you rush the process and make bad decisions.  Many divorces these days are very long and uncivilized.  Not to mention extremely expensive.  Trying to figure out how much a divorce costs is like asking how much do you spend on your wedding day?  You would like to set a budget but will always go over due to all the little perks along the roller coaster ride.  Where does all the money go?  Well for one we can figure that out right away.  Who is the first person you contact when you know you have agreed to a divorce?  Yes, your attorney is correct.

So, if you are looking to cut those costs or escape them altogether, you luckily have some alternatives.  The easiest and cheapest way of dealing with a divorce is to do all the paperwork and negotiating on your own.  A website like www.mydivorcedocuments.com offers both state specific forms and kits to suit your necessary needs.  Included in every one of our divorce form kits is our step-by-step attorney authored divorce form guides to help make filing your divorce not only easy, but to give you the divorce help you may need to fill out our printable divorce forms.

Another inexpensive alternative for those whose divorces are relatively amicable is mediation.  During mediation, the couple agrees to hire a mediator that practices family law to oversee their negotiations.  A mediator can inform you about potential financial and custodial arrangements, and will help to reopen the discussion if things break down.  Trying to find the right mediator can be a task as well.  Take the time to assure you have a mediator whom you like, respect and believe to be qualified to help both of you negotiate that equitable settlement.  By talking to a number of mediators you will not only become clear on which one feels right for you, but you will also familiarize yourself with the process, the topics you’ll need to discuss, the costs associated with mediated divorces and the issues involved in selecting a mediator.

The biggest advantage of using either “Do it yourself Kits” or “Mediation” is to reduce your legal fees and have a much cheaper divorce.  In most cases I am sure anybody going through the process would like to get the divorce settled as quickly and painless as possible.  Getting a divorce can be very messy, both personally and financially.  Do not make the mistake by rushing the process to settle where it may cause you more damage financially.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement and must go to court, there are a few ways to keep the costs low. Remember, turning the courtroom into a battleground will only exhaust your emotions and your finances.  Be sure to pick your battles wisely knowing every time you open your mouth the dollar signs will pop up.  Another way to keep your divorce basic is always make sure you have all the correct information and documents handy.  Always remember, too much documentation is never enough.

Overall, to avoid high cost fees we recommend you visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com and take a glimpse of what we have to offer.   We offer downloadable & printable forms and kits where a Low-Cost Divorce really does Exist.



Get Online Divorce Forms in Seconds!

There are several resources to finding divorce forms online.

Divorce forms online for all states are ready for immediate download.  By going to www.mydivorcedocuments.com you will be able to find specific states do it yourself forms and kits.  Close to 1 million people file for divorce in the United States yearly.  What most people do not know is that they are able to download divorce forms online for any state in the privacy of there own home in seconds.  Negotiating and handling your own paperwork through a do it yourself divorce process can save you a considerable amount of money and time.

You are able to download divorce forms that are court approved for any state in seconds.  The divorce forms and kit comes with a complete step by step guide and instructions on how to properly fill them out and process them.

A no-fault divorce or uncontested divorce essentially means that both spouses are in agreement on the terms of the divorce.  Another term would be “irreconcilable differences.”  No-fault divorce is valid in all 50 states and couples may file their own divorce paperwork without an attorney by simply filling out the proper divorce forms necessary.

Some states have some minimum requirements when filing for divorce.  Followed are a few of the most significant ones.

  • No matter which spouse files for divorce a residency requirement of  six months is most likely the case in all states.  Some states may vary.  You should be able to find this information online.
  • Most states have an essential waiting period from the time you file before the divorce is completed and approved.  That waiting period can be anywhere from 0 to 12 months depending on your specific case.  By downloading your specific state divorce forms and coming to an agreement with your spouse, you may be able to prevent this issue by a do it yourself divorce process.
  • Also remember that it is crucial that you file at the correct court house.  The correct court house usually resides in the county that either the husband or the wife has lived for the required minimum time period.

When you choose the state that you live in, you will need to download the documents with or without children pertaining to your specific situation.  There may be other questions that you will need to answer before filing your divorce papers which will be included in the divorce kit for you.

Although you and your spouse may agree to all aspects of the no-fault or uncontested divorce, you should give serious consideration to consulting with an attorney for financial planner if you are unsure about any financial or legal issues.  Keep in mind that any interactions with an attorney can lead to a more costly divorce.

Many states have courts with self-help services either on the Internet or in person.  Some states also offer legal help from certain law firms to help you with general questions about no-fault or filing your own divorce papers.

With that in mind, take a look at our website at www.mydivorcedocuments.com to see our inexpensive specific state do it yourself forms and kits.

Is it Possible for a Man to get a Cheap Divorce?

This is the one million dollar question for men, and it is not always about the money.

As we all know, most divorce attorneys only care about themselves and their hourly rates.  This usually causes a divorce to drag out for a long period of time.  Depending on where you live, there are some very good alternatives.

If you have $15,000 to $25,000 to throw away, well then take the conventional route and get yourself an attorney.  But, are there other options?  You bet.  So most of your money does not go to an attorney, here are some different choices on how to seek a cheap divorce.

  • Using a good Mediator is a way to spend about one third of the regular cost of a divorce.  A mediator can decrease the cost of a divorce although it will still cost you a good amount of money.  If you have the funds and do not know your divorce rights, this is a route to take.
  • In most cases checking in with your county clerk’s office is another good way to receive information on how to file for  a divorce or how to file for a legal separation until you and your spouse decide what kind of action you will take.  If your assets are high, this may not be a sensible route to take.  If you are a regular Jo blow, the county clerk will lead you in the right direction to obtaining a cheap divorce.  Remember, you are dealing with a government office so don’t expect friendly smiles and courteous assistance.  However,these are your rights.
  • Depending on your state and your situation, there are Online Divorce Kits and divorce websites that assist you in obtaining the correct divorce forms.  Make sure you do some research and that you use a reputable site with customer service such as www.mydivorcedocuments.com.
  • Divorce Un-bundling.  This allows you and your spouse to maintain control and make decisions on ending the marriage on your own without the help of a neutral third party assisting you.  This includes the filing of any legal forms.  Again, I recommend you research this topic carefully.
  • In just about any state, you can hire a paralegal that will assist you in preparing the documentation necessary to file for a divorce at a much cheaper rate than an attorney.   Using a paralegal is useful when you and your spouse can agree on terms of the divorce.  But if that is already the case, why do you need a paralegal?  Right?
  • A divorce attorney is an option you have if you can afford to pay for your divorce and possibly pay for your spouses’ attorney as well.  An attorney is also good to have if you have large assets, you know your wife is going to play hardball and if you probably don’t want much contact with her.  If an attorney is absolutely necessary, save yourself some money by doing as much work as you can on your own, ask what you can do to save billable hours and explain you do not want to spend much time and money on your divorce.  A good attorney will assist you on this request.

It is not necessary to waste a lot of money on an attorney.  If you can communicate with your spouse and take the time to figure out what you both want, using a cheaper method for a divorce is very possible.  Remember to go online and look for divorce forms already available at www.mydivorcedocuments.com

Important Steps to Divorce!

DIVORCE PREPARATION – CRUCIAL INITIAL STEPS

Planning

The planning of a divorce can be very difficult.  Be completely sure that you are 100% that you want a divorce before getting started.  Giving up on your marriage can be very overwhelming.  Be sure you have explored other resources such as marriage counseling or communication exercises before you commit to a divorce.  If possible, you and your spouse should work together and do your best to save your marriage before making any drastic decisions.

If all fails and you still are certain regarding the decision then, it is time to tell your spouse.  You must be prepared for the outcome, this can be the most emotional and difficult conversation you may ever have.  Get support from your family and friends and have them ready in case you are concerned your spouse may have a reaction that could lead to danger to either you or your children.  Be honest and upfront unless there is a security or custodial related need to not do so.

Inform your children.  If both parents can do this together, an honest explanation will provide reassurance and support to the children.  Consider researching other educational resources that will assist you to understand how to best communicate these difficult news.  It is recommended to do this before announcing the divorce to your children.

Records

Gathering records is very important.  You will need to try and gather as many official copies of financial information about your spouse as possible.  This information can be legal, government, joint assets, joint debts, income records, employment records, insurance information and credit reports.  For your children, gather birth dates, current and past address records and social security numbers.

Obtain proof of ownership on all joint and personal assets and records of all joint debts.  Get copies of past tax returns, marriage license and any existing prenuptial agreements.

All of this information will be necessary when applying for a divorce either through an attorney or if you are using a “do it yourself kit”.

Divorce Preparation

You will need to decide if you are going to use an attorney or if you are going to use other methods to file for a divorce.  Divorce documents are available online and are a great way to keep costs low.  There are educational resources to assist you in understanding a divorce process.  You can look into other media such as MyDivorceDocuments.com, books, DVD’s or pamphlets to help you prepare for your divorce.  Take time to understand each step of the divorce process.

Custody arrangements are very important so begin to keep track of the time you spend with your children.  Make sure you log in all efforts in taking care of your children.

Prepare for a life apart

Speak to your spouse about all the accounts, debts and assets you share.  Make sure you close all credit accounts and joint bank accounts as early as possible.  Be sure to close all accounts in writing.  Speak to a professional about the negotiation process of dividing debts and assets.  Apply for your own credit cards and open your own bank accounts.  If needed, update your last will and testament as early as possible.

Use the address of your new residence or establish a secondary mailing address.  If sharing a home with your spouse for some time, store and save any sensitive information separately without access from your spouse.

A divorce does not have to be a difficult and stressful time.  Make sure to prepare and educate yourself in the initial steps to begin the divorce process.  By simply going to www.mydivorcedocuments.com you can find several forms and kits as well as information to help you start your divorce process.

Use a Divorce Kit Today!

My Divorce Documents is one of the most trusted names in divorce documentation online today.  We pride ourselves in creating complete divorce kits that help our customers to file their divorces by offering on site downloadable divorce forms, restraining orders, child support and custody documents, and everything you need to complete our divorce papers, including name change forms.

Our downloadable divorce forms allow you to fill out the papers with our step by step guides in the comfort and security of your home or office when it is convenient for you.

Divorce can be a very frustrating and trying time.  If you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that divorce is the only answer, this kit will not only save you time, but dollars in legal fees and pain.

No-fault divorce is just as it sounds, neither party is at fault.  Some states call no-fault divorce “dissolution.  It simply states that there are “irreconcilable differences” between the two and they wish to terminate the marriage.

In the Do-It-Yourself Kit the following details will be covered for you:

  • Personal property and real estate
  • Child custody, support and visitation
  • Alimony
  • Debts and other obligations
  • Change to former name for the wife
  • Income taxes

Both Spouses Must Agree on the Following:

Both parties must agree entirely on the following listed details or this kit will not work for you.  Legal advice is recommended if you cannot agree on all aspects of ending the marriage.  If you and your spouse can agree entirely on the following few items, you are a perfect fit for this kit:

1) You must meet residency requirements for your state.  In most states, that is 6 to 12 months. The residency requirements for all states are listed in this kit.

2) Both of you must agree on all aspects of ending your marriage.

3) No pregnancy involved.

4) You must know the whereabouts of your spouse. He/she will need to sign the documents later. He/she will not need to appear in court, however, the person filing will.

5) You must be aware that there will be court fees you’ll pay directly to the court when you file. The fees vary in each state vary depending on where you live.  You can find out by contacting your county clerk’s office.

If you are able to agree on these items, it’s possible to save yourself lots of money in legal fees.  If you cannot agree, we suggest you seek legal advice.

Divorce is usually a very trying time, but if you and your spouse have agreed to all matters in regards to ending your marriage, this kit will definitely save time, heartache and hundreds of dollars.  Be sure to go over all situations, even real estate and children.  In addition to the cost of the kit, you will need to pay court fees.  These vary from state to state, even county to county.  You pay these fees directly to the court.  You can contact your county clerks’ office for actual fees.

To begin this low-cost downloadable specific state divorce process, please go to www.mydivorcedocuments.com and see what we have to offer you now.

Common Questions of a Divorce!

A divorce is when both husband and wife have decided to separate and go there own way.  This usually takes the form of dividing their previously shared assets between them selves.  Some divorce proceedings become legal disputes over money, property, and child custodial rights.  When a couple cannot reach an agreement, the court will ultimately make those decisions for them, taking a wide range of factors in consideration when concluding a judgment.

In some states, divorce was socially shameful, and was highly discouraged or prevented by the Church and state.  Divorce was only allowed if one party broke certain marital obligations like, adultery, neglect or abuse.  Such marriages are now referred to as a “fault divorce”.   More recently, divorce has returned to its more usual state, by becoming legal, acceptable, and fairly common.  Some statisticians have reported that fewer than one in twenty divorces are contested in a courtroom.  Divorcing couples are usually reaching a settlement either with lawyers, mediation, or privately.  The restrictions on how easily a divorce can be obtained have been significantly lifted with the prevalence of the “no fault” divorce.

A no-fault divorce is a statement by each spouse that their petition to the court for a divorce has been mutually agreed on by both parties.  It attempts to hold neither party responsible for the dissolution of the marriage, and usually, couples reach a settlement over the division of rights and property.  In this case it would be bound by either an agreement between each other or mediation to avoid litigation.  In most states, all divorces require that a reason be given for the state to dissolve the marriage.  With the exception of the no-fault divorce, acceptable reasons include incompatibility between spouses, the existence of irreconcilable differences, or even the most practical description of a breakdown of the marriage.  The property is not necessarily equal in a no-fault divorce, subject to the agreed terms of the divorce, or ruling of the court.

A Summary Divorce in the United States, and some other countries, is the fastest and simplest form of divorce, granted to couples who had a short, inconsequential marriage.  In this case, few shared assets, and an equally low value of private assets.  It is also conditional on there being no child custodial issues, and no home or mortgage.

Commonly cited causes of divorce include:

  • Adultery by either one or both spouses
  • Strains caused by in-law family members
  • Physical and emotional abuse
  • Obsessive compulsions and addictions

It is a commonly held belief that women successfully negotiate the more favorable settlement or judgment more often than men in divorces, and this is actually supported by some surveys.  There is no question that mothers are usually granted the greater portion of custodial time over children compared to fathers.  However, the degree to which this happens has been gradually deceasing during the past decade.

The sharing of parental responsibilities and rights is one of the most important aspects of divorce in general.  These arrangements are always checked and ratified by a court, even where both parents are in agreement.  The ruling of custodial rights is always in favor of the child’s best interest.  In such a legal battle, the court can take a wide number of factors into consideration when deciding how to divide child custody.

With that in mind divorce rates are the highest they’ve been for hundreds of years.  The terms of divorce are becoming more manageable and acceptable to all involved.

On that note if you would like to begin your process of a divorce.  Simply go to www.mydivorcedocuments.com and purchase your do-it-yourself specific state divorce kit and begin your process today.

Steps for Filing for Divorce


Every state has a specific process to get a divorce.

Some states prefer to use the terms “dissolution of marriage”, rather then the word “divorce”.  Although relatively the same definition.  Below are a few steps to filing a divorce.

First Step: Communicating with your Spouse

An irate bitter divorce will only lead to a longer and more expensive one.  If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement between the division of your marital property and the custody of any children, the divorce will be less difficult then those matters in a dispute.  Majority of couples are not fortunate enough to go into an “uncontested divorce”, and will have to go through the “contested divorce” proceedings in the courtroom.

Second Step: Discussing the Division of your Assets and Property

Each individual state will divide both parties property obtaining during their marriage.  Every state allows each party to determine how the property should be split.  If the two cannot come to an agreement, the judge will then split the property.  Most states have either “community property” or “equitable distribution” divisions.  In community property states the marital property and assets will be divided equally.  A court does not have the authority to base off of income, wealth or other contribution to the marriage.  In an equitable distribution state, a spouse is entitled to a portion of the marital property to their contribution to the marriage.  This means both financial and non-financial elements of the marriage such as raising children and taking care of the home.

Step Three:  Consult a Lawyer

State law governs multiple items related to a divorcing couple such as grounds for divorce, marital property and if a couple is legally separated for any duration of time before the divorce may be granted.

Step Four:  Know your state grounds for divorce

Some states allow a “no fault” divorce where the parties do not have to have a reason for divorce beyond irreconcilable differences.  If your state requires “fault” before the divorce can be granted, there may only be specific grounds which you are legally entitled to a divorce.  A few examples of a fault divorce are adultery, abuse etc.

Step Five: File for Legal Separation

Some states require that couples be separated for a certain amount of time before a divorce may be awarded.  Some states only require that a couple live apart from each other for a specific amount of time.  Some other states require filing a notice of the separation which the court as well.  All requirements will have to be met before a court will accept a divorce application.

Step Six: Be sure to gather all Financial Information

In a divorce the spouse’s assets and debts will be split.  When a divorce petition is filed, most states require a detailed financial data to help the judge determine child or spousal support orders if this may apply.

Step Seven: File the Petition for Divorce

If you choose to hire a lawyer, it is best you have him there representing you.  Some jurisdictions may have different forms for your divorce based on your divorce situation.  If you do not have an attorney this is the information that you most likely will be required to provide for the court:

-Present both yourself and your spouse

-Name and ages of any children that you have and current resident status

-Identify all martial property and debts and your individual income and assets.

When the petition is filed most states require the plaintiff provide three or more copies of the petition and summons.  A summons is a court requiring a party to answer a complaint and appear before the court.  The clerk will then stamp all copies and give you back two, one for yourself and one copy for you to serve on your spouse.

Step Eight: Pay the Court Costs

When a petition is filed the clerk will require that you pay the appropriate court fees.  If you are indigent you may ask the court to waive the fees, which may be included on the complaint form or may require a separate form.

Step Nine: Serve Your Spouse the Divorce Papers

The party who files a court action is responsible for serving the other parties to the lawsuit.  Serving the other party means giving them a physical copy of the petition you filed as well as the summons.  In most states you may serve the other party through the mail or by having another person serve the defendant in person.  In some jurisdictions you may pay a fee to have the Sheriff serve the opposing party for you.  Most states do not allow a plaintiff to personally serve a defendant.

Step Ten:  Provide the Court with Proof of Service

After the defendant has been served most states require the plaintiff submit a “proof of service” with the court.  In this document the person who served the defendant must attest to the service, how and when the party was served.  The proof of service may be a part of the petition or may be a separate form.

Due to divorces being complex and emotional events, most parties have an attorney represent them.  The other option would be to try a do-it-yourself divorce process.   If you decide to try this process you can begin by simply going to www.mydivorcedocuments.com and purchase your specific state down-loadable forms and kit.