2020 List of Documents Needed for Divorce

Before initiating a divorce process, you should gather all information related to your marriage, collect papers reporting your financial info, and give everything to your attorney so that he or she can prepare divorce documents required for your particular case.

You cannot go without a lawyer if your couple has many unresolved issues and own much marital property, including expensive real estate, vehicles, a business, etc. In this case, a highly experienced professional will not only help you settle your matters and divide what you and your spouse own so that you can come up with a fair settlement agreement, but also will find any other assets that another party may hide from you. 

Nevertheless, no one can forbid you to go without an attorney, as you are allowed to do your divorce paperwork yourself. Moreover, you are recommended to do so if you are involved in an uncontested case and know exactly what documents are needed to file for divorce in your situation.

What Forms Do I Need to File for Divorce?

Different states use the same basic forms for divorce. However, in some states or even counties, there are local forms used specifically for their cases. To check whether or not your local court requires specific documents, don’t hesitate to contact a clerk’s office or simply browse the court’s website. The basic forms required normally include:

  • Petition for Divorce
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate
  • Notice to Defend Form
  • Verification Form 
  • Family Court Coversheet
  • Counseling Notice Form

Along with the papers mentioned above, other forms may be required, depending on the place of filing and various circumstances. If you go to the court, you may be also asked to provide:

  • Documents related to income (paycheck stubs, bank statements, payment receipts, etc.)
  • Documents related to real estate (mortgage statements, tax assessors’ statements, etc.)
  • Documents related to joint financial accounts (savings passbooks and certificates, statements from investment accounts, etc.)
  • Documents related to marital debts (medical bills, credit cards, etc.)
  • Documents related to pension funds (recent statements for IRAs, mutual funds, etc.)
  • Documents related to vehicles owned (registration to all cars, boats, and so forth, amortization schedules, payment coupons, etc.)

What are Divorce Petitions for?

What is a divorce petition? – It is a legal paper drafted in a divorce application format that is submitted with the court along with other supportive docs. In many states, it is also referred to as the divorce complaint. The main idea behind filing this document is to inform the court about the petitioner’s intent to untie the knot, and its submission with the clerk’s office initiates a divorce process. Once the doc is filed with the court-house, its copy is served on the other party to notify the latter one about the beginning of the process.

In different states, there are different requirements applied to the structure of the paper. However, its content doesn’t change. The paper provides the spouses’ and their kids’ identification information, such as names and addresses, grounds for divorce, information about when and where their marriage was registered, and so forth. 

Why Do You Need a Marriage Certificate?

When filing, you are supposed to provide your marriage certificate along with other supportive papers. This document serves as legal proof of your marriage. It provides some basic information such as your and your spouse’s names and date and place of your marriage. Note that it is not the same as marriage license: one applies for the latter one before he or she gets married. Upon marriage, one can apply for the certificate. Since many courts require original documents, many ask: “Can I get a copy of my marriage certificate after divorce?”. The answer is simple – Since all marriage and divorce records can be obtained at the clerk’s office, one can get any copy at the court where he or she has filed.  

Where Do You Get Divorce Papers?

If you don’t feel like hiring a lawyer and paying high legal fees, you can go without one. In this case, you can either look for the needed forms and fill them out yourself or sign up with our website and have your divorce packet prepared in no time at a low price. No matter what option you choose, you will have to submit your documentation yourself (if you use our services, we will provide you with simple, yet free detailed instructions on how to submit divorce papers easily).

Where you are going to file is vital. Just like any other matter that family law deals with, divorce is handled at the state government level, meaning that a petitioner must submit divorce documents with their state’s court – usually in a county branch of that court.

Before filing, one must check if he or she meets the residency requirements. The latter ones vary from one state to another and determine where the documents are to be filed and served. For instance, to file in California, at least one party must have been living at least for six months in the state. Moreover, if this requirement is met, one can file only in the county where he or she has been living at least for the last three months.