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Where can I find free divorce papers? And how do I fill them out?

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Here is a directory of free self-help divorce forms from every state. Not everyone needs a lawyer, but if you choose to proceed without a lawyer, please do your homework. You heard you could find free divorce papers online. You found them. But now how do you fill them out? At the bottom of this page is a directory of free divorce papers from each state. This article will discuss and link to some pages with important things to think about when you fill out free divorce papers.

The technical name for divorce papers is actually divorce “pleadings.” A pleading is the first step in taking any action to court. In a dissolution of marriage, or divorce, a pleading is called a Petition for dissolution of marriage. On a technical level, the pleading is a formal written statement that lists an individual’s claims in a civil action. The pleading outlines the issues that the individual wishes to be reviewed in court. As Tallahassee divorce lawyers, we are familiar with Florida divorce papers, but many issues discussed here apply in other states.

Do your free divorce papers explain your grounds for divorce? What are the requirements for divorce?

To file a divorce, the divorce will not be granted unless one of two requirements are met. The first requirement is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The second requirement is that one of the parties is mentally incapacitated and the issue has continued for at least three years. To file for the second requirement, there are specific conditions and guidelines the court must follow.

What do free divorce papers look like?

This page will direct you to many sites to find free divorce papers. But keep in mind you can use free divorce papers before and after consulting with a lawyer. If you find yourself in the position of wanting to file for divorce, you can do so through a divorce lawyer in Tallahassee. Your Tallahassee divorce lawyer (or any qualified family lawyer) will gather all your information and create your petition. Once your petition is completed, the lawyer will file the documents with the state court in the individual’s residing county. As divorce lawyers, we always make sure to include the 3 following requirements for the petition caption: 1) the name of the court, 2) names of parties and a designation identifying the pleading, 3) the nature of the pleading.

How to fill out free divorce papers?

First off, don’t get too worked up if you’re not a good writer. As mentioned, you can always consult with a divorce lawyer after you have tried to fill out free divorce papers. As an attorney, I generally use one of two formats that can also be used when filling out free divorce papers: narrative or non-narrative. The petition should contain a short and plain statement of the overall facts showing that the individual filing the petition is entitled to specific reliefs. Narrative style may be especially useful when requesting a temporary injunction. Examples of non-narrative vs. narrative petitions include:

  • Non-Narrative: The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken.
  • Narrative: The marriage between the parties is irretrievably broken. Due solely to the gambling addictions of the husband, alcohol problems, and continued drug use.

Do they need to be notarized?

There are two instances when you must have your petition for dissolution verified. To have a petition verified means that the petition was taken under oath before a public notary or attached with an affidavit approved by an authorized official. Your lawyer will instruct you when needed, but the two instances when a verified petition is necessary are when information required by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) are detailed within the petition, and when a temporary injunction is being requested.

What happens after divorce pleadings are served?

Once a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed by your attorney, the petitioner must serve it to the opposing party. The receiving party (called the respondent) served has 20 days to submit an answer and/or a counter-petition. If the respondent does not submit an answer and/or counter-petition within the time period, they may stand to waive their right of all defenses and objections.

How to respond to free divorce papers?

An answer from the respondent should be as detailed as the petition and contain all affirmative defenses. The respondent is allowed to deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. With doing so, the court may delay the ruling and order marital counseling. The answer must also contain any information required by the UCCJEA.

The respondent filing an answer may also file a counter petition. If the initial petition for dissolution of marriage is dismissed, and the respondent had not submitted a counter petition, the respondent wouldn’t have ground to stand for a dissolution of marriage. Filing the counter petition allows the respondent to become the petitioner in the instance that the first petition was dismissed. The counter petition should contain all the same information required for a petition for dissolution of marriage.

How does divorce mediation work?

Once a petition is submitted for the court by your attorney, the court may order divorce mediation before proceeding to trial.  Mediation is a much more relaxed setting than litigation within the court house and is a faster, more cost-efficient solution. Each party gets to explain their side and perspective on issues and the mediator tries to get the parties to agree to terms on the issues. As long as the agreements do not break any laws, the final mediation acts as the final judgment in the dissolution of the marriage. The cost of mediation can be reduced if the family’s combined income is less than $100,000. Fees may be levied if it is determined by the court that one party cannot pay. If an agreement cannot be made in mediation, the parties will usually conduct more discovery to prepare for trial.

Uncontested Free Divorce Papers versus Simplified Free Divorce Papers.

If there is no minor or dependent child, the wife is not pregnant, both parties have satisfactorily divided their property, and they have agreed to payments for joint obligations, the parties may proceed with filing simplified dissolution of marriage. The clerk is required to submit the petition to the court and the court must “consider the cause expeditiously.” The parties must appear before the court and testify if ordered. But the court enters a judgment granting the divorce if the requirements are met and a 6-month waiting period has been met.

Your lawyer will not be able to represent both sides of a simplified dissolution. But, will be able to guide you through the process. Simplified dissolution requires a petition, affidavit of corroborating witnesses, a financial affidavit (if needed), marital settlement agreement, and a final judgment. Divorce papers for a simplified dissolution of marriage are, well, simple. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce can be very complicated, involving multi-faceted stipulations on equitable distribution, alimony, child custody, etc. An uncontested divorce just means the parties have agreed on everything from the beginning of the case, but the divorce papers that get filed are usually identical to a contested divorce, except for the settlement agreement.