Tips For A Do It Yourself Divorce

Not all divorces require endless court dates, drawn out negotiations, or large legal fees. If you and your former spouse are able to separate out any emotions and work together, and if you don't have any major property or custody issues to work out, a "do-it-yourself" divorce is a viable possibility. The following tips can help you prepare and file the divorce paperwork on your own.

Tip #1: Know Your State's Requirements

There are specific forms and paperwork that must be submitted to a court to have your divorce approved and finalized. These forms and the necessary format of supporting documents varies depending on the state. The simplest way to ensure that you meet these requirements is to get a divorce kit for your state. These kits usually consist of a book with the current laws that apply to divorce in your state, along with the necessary forms. They are sometimes available from book sellers, or you can order up to date, downloadable versions online. You should also get a list of all documents from your local court clerk's office. They may also provide you with certain forms that are required for a divorce filing.

Tip #2: Make a List

Both you and your former spouse need to sit down separately and make up a list. This list should contain every known joint asset and joint debt. Then, make a second list that divides up the assets and debts in a way that seems fair to you. Once this is done you and your ex will compare the first set of lists to make sure nothing was missed. Finally, you both can work your way down each of your personal lists. Any allocations that you disagree upon are set aside until you work through the list, and then you can negotiate to figure out the best way to divide the items you didn't agree on.

Tip #3: Gather Your Documentation

Once you both have a finalized and agreed upon the allocation of debts and assets, you need to collect all paperwork. This includes copies to deeds and titles, joint banking information, loan documents, insurance policies, and any other financial or property documentation you may have. This documentation will be necessary when you file your divorce with the court, since it will be used during the final legal allocation performed during the divorce proceedings.

Tip #4: Prepare for Court

Even a DIY divorce requires a court appearance to approve and finalize the documentation. A judge will look over the paperwork you prepared to ensure the divorce terms you and your ex have determined are considered fair and equitable. If everything is in order, the divorce will be granted. In some states only one spouse has to show up for this appearance, but you may need to have them fill out a divorce affidavit form beforehand. This information that the clerk can provide you with.