For parents of minor children, custody and support matters add a separate layer to the divorce process. Depending on state laws, parents often have more obligations that non-parents, such as attending parenting classes and making additional disclosures. For this reason, and to avoid confusion, many states offer a different filing procedure for parties without children.
Divorce and Children
A divorce, also known as a dissolution action, begins when you complete and file a complaint form. Many states have separate forms, depending on whether you have children. In determining how you should file, most states only consider children in a divorce case, if you and your spouse are the legal parents and the child is 18 or under or still in high school. If you have no minor children but your spouse is currently pregnant and you are the father, some states allow you to initially file the forms for a dissolution without children. However, you may be required to check the appropriate box that you acknowledge that custody and support will be addressed when the child is born.
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