When you decide to move forward with a divorce, the first step is to “file.” Your lawyer will draft a stack of papers for you to review for accuracy and sign. She will then sign them, then take them to the courthouse with a check, and submit them. Here’s a list of what those “papers’ include:
Summons – this is a cover sheet, notifying the clerk which court you are filing in, and advising your soon-to-be-ex that they need to file a response within thirty days after they get their copy, or else they risk you getting everything you want by default. (For more on how defaults work, click here)
Complaint – this is the document that describes why you want a divorce and what you want the court to do, like dividing your property equitably and ruling on how time with the children should be split. (For more on what the court considers dividing property equity, click here. For more on what judges consider in dividing time with the children, click here.)
Statistical Information Sheet – this is a document that lists personal information such as your ex and your birthdates, social security numbers, and other identifying information. It is filed under seal to prevent identity theft.
Proposed Parenting Plan – for divorces that involve children, this is a longer document that describes what you believe to be the best schedule for your children to spend time with you and your X, and who you believe should make certain types of decisions for your children. It will include provisions for how holidays are spent, where you exchange the children, and who should pay what amount for child support. (To review what the Parenting Plan form looks like, click here. To see what a child support worksheet looks like and how to fill it out, click here.)
Notice of Termination of Health Insurance – this is a one-page form simply advising the other side that any insurance you may provide for them will terminate when the divorce is granted and giving them contact information if they wish to continue it themselves through COBRA or some other means. It does not have to be filed until 60 days before the divorce is granted, but it’s generally a good idea to file it with the initial documents.
Notice of Statutory Injunctions – this is a short document that advises your ex that neither one of you can do certain things while the divorce is pending, including but not limited to harassing each other on the job, selling or encumbering marital assets.
Marital Dissolution Agreement – for an agreed divorce (otherwise known as an irreconcilable difference divorce), you’ll file a document signed by both of you that describes how the property and debts will be distributed and provide for any alimony to flow. You and your spouse can also sign an agreed Parenting Plan for the children if your divorce is agreed.
This may seem like a lot, but it’s just part of the day-to-day work of Held Law Firm, and we can walk you through it, no problem. Give us a call when you are ready!