What you think is divorce isn’t divorce. More than 630,000 couples got a divorce in the United States in 2020. Many people assume that these separations were angry and hostile. In reality, thousands of couples separate every year on respectful and easy terms. The key is to understand the steps that go into a simple divorce and get help when you need it.
What exactly is a simple divorce? What divorce proceedings should you follow before you get a separation? How can you file for divorce? Answer these questions and you can start an independent life in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Understand What a Simple Divorce Is
An uncontested or simple divorce is a separation between two spouses on amicable grounds. The two spouses may no longer love each other, and they want to pursue independent lives.
An uncontested divorce does not mean that no negotiations occur between the spouses. You can talk to your spouse about child custody and other arrangements before you both apply for divorce.
Uncontested divorces are not always ideal. A person may need to fight for child custody and alimony in order to live a comfortable life.
Spend time thinking about what you need to negotiate and fight for. If there is a major difference in power in your relationship, you should consider a contested divorce instead.
You should also consider alternatives to divorce before you start the process. You can try a trial separation with your spouse, living apart from each other for a few weeks. You can visit a marriage counselor and work on ways to improve your relationship.
Negotiate Your Divorce
You may have a few different issues you want to negotiate with your spouse about. You may need to write an alimony agreement or decide on how much child support you should give.
You and your spouse should meet together and work out these issues. If you’re uncomfortable meeting them alone, you can bring a friend or lawyer with you. You can also negotiate through intermediaries.
If you’re struggling to find the right terms for your divorce, you can hire a mediator. You and your spouse can sit down and pinpoint the problems you need to resolve. The mediator can then help you come up with solutions to the problem that both of you are happy with.
Make a Child Custody Plan
A judge will not approve your divorce plan if you do not have a plan for child custody. Most parents in a simple divorce elect a 50-50 split for custody.
You can decide on whatever parenting schedule you want. To minimize disruption, you can try birdnesting. Your child will remain in your current home, and you and your spouse will swap out.
In addition to physical custody, you should think about legal custody. Both of you can share the responsibilities of deciding what healthcare and schooling your child can have. You can involve grandparents and other relatives, but only if you want to.
You can split expenses based on how you split physical custody. You can also opt to cover expenses for your child when you have custody of them. If you plan on going on vacation with them alone, you should cover the cost, not your co-parent.
Ask a Lawyer for Help
You can still hire a lawyer while you are getting an uncontested divorce. They can remind you of your legal rights and handle your paperwork for you. They can also act as an intermediary, and they can serve your divorce petition to your spouse formally.
Find a lawyer who is experienced with the uncontested divorce process. Ask them what their rates are and how long the process itself will take.
You do not have to tell your spouse you are speaking to a lawyer. If they hear about it, they may hire their own lawyer or get into an argument with you.
File Your Divorce Paperwork
Each state has its own laws for divorce filings. Review them with the help of a lawyer before you start filling out forms.
In general, either you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for several years. You must file a separation agreement that covers the issues in your divorce, particularly child custody.
You may need to fill out a few different forms, including a petition for divorce. You will need to supply personal information like your income level and residential address.
Once you have all of your paperwork completed, you can fill it with your local family court. A judge will examine your documents and determine if a divorce hearing is necessary.
During the hearing, the judge may ask you questions about your personal life and the arrangements you lay out in your paperwork. Most judges approve divorce arrangements if both spouses agree to them. However, your judge may want clarity on certain matters like alimony.
You will hear back from your judge within a few weeks. You are not legally divorced until you get notification of your judge’s decision.
Get Your Simple Divorce
A simple divorce is within your reach. You should talk to your spouse and make arrangements with them about money, property, and child custody.
Be thorough with your child custody arrangements. Pick a schedule you want to follow and decide how you will split legal responsibilities.
You can get a lawyer for help, especially as you are preparing paperwork. Make sure to fill out forms completely and give the judge all the information they need for a ruling.
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