There are some things in life you will surely enjoy doing yourself: building a birdcage, making a sand castle, maybe even something as ambitious as buying a house. But self-filing for divorce can really be a headache if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. It may also be an emotionally painful experience, so make sure you have your ducks in a row before you research your options.
Here are a few tips on how to file for divorce yourself with as little hassle as possible.
You might file for divorce without the help of a lawyer or legal service to save money. The filing fee, to begin with, will probably be over $100 and if a response is filed, that number will only go up. It’s understandable if you want to avoid any extra expenses, especially considering the financial and emotional toll a divorce takes on everyone involved.
But unless you have a strong grasp on what you’re doing, then that lawyer or legal service might be a resource you regret not investing in. Or, you might want to sign up for a session with a divorce coach who can walk you through the process.
How to File a Divorce on Your Own
There are a handful of requirements that you have to meet before you should even consider filing for divorce. In some states, you’ll have to meet even more than the following requirements, but here’s a basic idea:
- Whatever state you are filing for divorce in, you must have lived there for at least six months. As for the county, your residency requirement is three months. (These state and county residency requirements may vary, depending on the region of the United States.)
- Do you have legal grounds to divorce? “Irreconcilable difficulties” is the most commonly cited reason for a divorce and it has an extremely broad definition, meaning it is rare that it’s illegal for someone to file for divorce. If you’ve faced marital problems that have hurt the marriage and are irreconcilable, then you have legal grounds.
- You will file for divorce in your county; the action for divorce must be presented in the court of your jurisdiction. It may difficult or a piece of cake to track down the proper court.
- If your divorce is uncontested, it’s fairly uncomplicated to file for divorce. It’s when your husband or wife responds with a counteraction of some type that it starts to get rocky and a lawyer isn’t really expendable.
- There are even online resources right now that allow you to do all your filing over the Internet; these usually cost money to use, however.
- You can download your state’s divorce papers free right here.
In summary, to self-file for divorce, you will need to fulfill the above requirements and file a petition for divorce with the correct court in your county and state. (More populated counties may have multiple locations that you’ll have to review before filing.) Remember to check into your local requirements, for legal grounds and jurisdictions, so you aren’t hit with any unpleasant surprises and hangups.