Forms to File for Your Own Divorce

By Cayden Conor

Most forms to file for your own divorce are available at the clerk's office. If the clerk's office has a website, you can download the forms from it. There are several forms that are required for filing a divorce, but only three are required to start the action. It is best to complete all the forms and file them as a package so you do not miss deadlines. Though a financial affidavit is not required to start a divorce action, it is best to file it with the petition.

Civil Cover Sheet

The civil cover sheet is a form that tells the clerk what kind of case you are filing, the parties' names and, in the case of family law, whether you are filing a contested or uncontested divorce or a paternity action.

Summons

The summons is required, as this is the document that tells the process server who your spouse is, and where she lives. It also tells your spouse that she has a set number of days to file a response, and where to send a copy of the response (the original goes to the clerk).

Petition

The petition is the most important form, and is required to file a divorce action. The petition alleges the grounds for divorce, if required. Some states are no-fault states, and the only ground that needs to be alleged is irreconcilable differences. In states that require more specific grounds, fill in the reason you are suing for divorce.

If children are involved, fill out the section for custody and visitation. If you want primary residential custody, check the appropriate box. The form identifies you as either the petitioner, or husband or wife. Check the appropriate box for sole and exclusive use of the marital residence. If your state does not have a specific sentence for the marital residence, you must hand write or type it in the space provided. For assets and liabilities, unless you are claiming special circumstances, all you need to allege is equitable distribution. Special circumstances include items given to you as part of an inheritance, other nonmarital property (property owned before you got married), and, if you think you should get something (such as your retirement funds) rather than split it because you earned the bulk of the money in the account prior to the marriage. The petition must be signed and notarized.

Family Law Financial Affidavit

Each party to the divorce must file a family law financial affidavit. The affidavit must be signed and notarized. Your spouse also files a financial affidavit, and the affidavit is sworn to, so be sure you include all the correct information regarding your income, assets and liabilities.

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