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Divorce Papers

Article | 20 December 2021

There is no doubt that divorce is a stressful and uncertain time for individuals.  For some, it can be made even more stressful by dealing with the administrative burdens that accompany Divorce Papers.

How Will You Approach Divorce Papers?

Depending on the relationship between the parties seeking a divorce, they may approach the process in different ways.  Some individuals may decide to approach Divorce Papers collaboratively, agreeing on division of assets and any parenting plan without the intervention of a judge – and often without attorneys.  Other relationships may be more contentious and may require appearing before a judge to help resolve disputes. 

Different states also have different requirements for Divorce Papers, such as required periods of separation.  Be sure to understand your state’s requirements as you begin the process.

What Do Divorce Papers Look Like?

Every marriage is different, which means every set of divorce papers will be slightly different depending on the terms of the marriage. For almost all marriages, divorce papers will include these three documents.

  • Dissolution of Marriage Form
    This document will be filed with the court to formally request the Divorce. Some states may require that a reason for dissolution be included.  The spouse who does not file the form will be served.
  • Proof of Financials
    A variety of financial paperwork, including tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, mortgage statements, and bills.
  • Parenting Plan
    If there are children from the marriage, a parenting plan will be created.  This plan will detail all the pertinent details related to raising the children, including how financial responsibilities will be shared, when they will spend time with each parent, and any other provision that is important to the parents, for example involvement in extracurricular activities, schooling, medical care, and religion.
  • Settlement Agreement
    This will be the official document provided from the court detailing the final arrangements, especially as it pertains to finances and custody. This document will be legally binding and must be followed.

Where to Get Divorce Papers

To obtain divorce papers, a spouse must contact a local courthouse, either by mail or in person and request the documents. It’s important to obtain divorce papers in the state you currently reside in, not the state you were married in. Procedure can differ depending on states, and keeping the process as simple as possible can prevent future conflict. 

How to Get Divorce Papers

A dissolution of marriage form can be obtained from a courthouse either in person or through the mail. Many cities offer dissolution of marriage forms on their website for even easier access. Proof of financials can be obtained by gathering past financial statements for review. If you find you don’t have records of the needed financial statements, contact your financial institution and ask for the relevant documentation. You will receive your settlement agreement from the court itself after the conditions of the divorce are finalized. 

How to Serve Divorce Papers

Divorce papers can be served in two ways. The spouse filing for divorce can serve the papers in person along with the documents used to respond to the dissolution of marriage form, or the spouse can mail the forms using an adult age third party.

In the case of serving by mail, the served party will have to sign a document called a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt. This proves that they both understand the nature of the documents and that the documents have been received. In the state of California, the served party has 20 days to return the signed documentation.

How to Get a Copy of Divorce Papers

Getting additional copies of your divorce papers requires contacting the County Superior Court that granted your divorce. As all the documentation that was provided for the divorce proceedings is on file, you can request copies of any or all of these documents. You will be required to pay a fee to obtain copies, and this price can vary depending on the amount of documentation you request. 

How Much Do Divorce Papers Cost

In the state of California, simply filing divorce papers costs around $435. Additional fees may be applied depending on your county or other complications regarding the divorce. Hiring a lawyer to modify or draft other aspects of your divorce papers can cause costs to greatly increase. 
Filing for divorce can be an overwhelming financial and legal process. Contact the experts at Legal Docs by ME for information and assistance.


The California Divorce Process in Ten Steps at the Law Office of Cristin M. Lowe
How much does a divorce cost in California? by Moriel Berger for it’s over easy