One of the most difficult things about divorce is the paperwork; the steps people needed to take to finalize separations and divorces aren’t always widely publicized, and laws vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Although blank divorce papers are usually obtainable from the government website of the state in which the divorce will take place, one must ensure they’re eligible for divorce in that locale before submitting the completed forms. For instance, when Californian couples file for divorce, at least one spouse must fulfill the prerequisite of having been a state resident for a period of no less than six months or 180 days. Such time requirements are common, but their length isn’t consistent across the nation.
Another common requirement for divorce is having valid grounds. For instance, Virginia recognizes willful desertion, abandonment, cruelty and reasonable fear of bodily harm as valid grounds for divorce. Again, acceptable legal grounds may be different in each state.
Also remember that some states may not provide divorces for marriages they don’t recognize, such as common-law marriages in California or same-sex marriages in states where the latter remain prohibited. Additionally, certain jurisdictions may make it more difficult to obtain a complete, satisfactory divorce by requiring people to go to different courts for different aspects of the process. For instance, New Yorkers must petition their county Supreme Courts for divorce cases, yet they’re advised to attend Family Courts for assistance with related matters, like child custody and spousal support.
In addition to obtaining and filing papers, those who want to obtain divorces usually have to submit fees. It’s important to keep in mind that there are many different kinds of divorce, and the papers one files should reflect the legal action they plan on taking. For instance, uncontested divorces, where both spouses agree to division of property and other rights beforehand, are popular because the paperwork is often less complicated, but in many states, like Massachusetts, the joint forms are different than normal ones. After the divorce is completed and an official judgment has been entered, both spouses should receive copies of the finalized papers, but more may be requested by either party.