These usually include a Petition, and various Waivers, Affidavits, Certifications and Acknowledgements documents that indicate that you and your spouse are in agreement on the core issues of your divorce. All of these documents are based on the facts of the case between you and your spouse, and the details of your separation as you documented them in the Separation Agreement.
In some states these documents will need to be filled out in a particular way and have to be filed in a special sequence in order to comply with the requirements of the court. The amount of support and who will pay it largely depends on four factors: The child support formula is very complicated in most states, but the good news is that most states provide a simple one or two page worksheet which will provide to you the exact amount one of you will need to pay.
These documents detail your financial situation including all sources of your income. You will also need to include the details about your assets and how much you owe in connection to them, if anything. You will also have to include the details about your various debts, such as credit cards, student loans, lines of credit and personal loans. You will also have include your various expenses.
Depending on your state and your income, you may be asked to complete a detailed financial affidavit which will require a more extensive version of this information, while most states require only the basic details.
Now they can also divorce online. A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered. The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1. The Web site, onlinedivorce. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing.
But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage. Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog. Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once. A study released last month by the U. Serial marriage is rare: Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1, couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense.
Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks. So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called onlinedivorce. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami. Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.
Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process. Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea.
Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences. Still, such services are spreading. Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site https: Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse. But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce. It took about a year to get the site up and running.