How to Apply for Simple Divorce

By Heather Frances J.D.

Divorce laws vary significantly between states, but some states offer a simple divorce that streamlines the process if the spouses meet certain criteria. The process goes by different names in different states and varies somewhat, but there are some similarities between states. You don’t have to “apply” for a simple divorce, but you must file the appropriate paperwork to begin your divorce.

Divorce laws vary significantly between states, but some states offer a simple divorce that streamlines the process if the spouses meet certain criteria. The process goes by different names in different states and varies somewhat, but there are some similarities between states. You don’t have to “apply” for a simple divorce, but you must file the appropriate paperwork to begin your divorce.

Simple Divorces

Some states, including Florida and California, offer a simple or simplified divorce process when spouses meet certain specific requirements. For example, in California, couples cannot have been married for more than five years, cannot have children from the marriage, cannot own real property together and cannot exceed certain asset and debt limits. Florida includes restrictions that spouses cannot seek alimony and must attend the final hearing together. Your state may have different limitations.

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Joint Proceedings

In many states, spouses can simplify their divorce process by filing a joint petition to begin the proceedings. Even if your state does not have an official “simple” divorce process, filing a joint petition and a signed marital settlement agreement, either simultaneously or soon after filing the petition, streamlines the proceedings. Since you both become petitioners by filing the joint petition, you may eliminate the need for one spouse to officially serve the other with the divorce paperwork, thereby eliminating a step of the process.

Marital Settlement Agreement

A simple divorce, or even one that is jointly filed, typically requires a marital settlement agreement or separation agreement signed by both spouses. Some states, such as Ohio, detail mandatory topics that the settlement agreement must cover. Typically, an agreement fully distributes all marital property between the spouses and addresses alimony, child custody, child support and payment of marital debts. Courts typically adopt a couple’s settlement agreement as part of the divorce decree, making it binding as a court order.

Waiting Period

If your state does not have a mandatory waiting period, you could be divorced as soon as you file the petition and signed copy of the settlement agreement, if the court signs off on the agreement immediately. Otherwise, you could be divorced as soon as your state’s waiting period expires. However, your divorce is not final until the judge signs your divorce decree.

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Can a Divorce Be Final in Two Months?

References

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The Retraction of a Divorce Filing

A divorce is not finalized until a judge signs off on the divorce decree and grants a final judgment in the case. Until that point, you and your spouse can opt to terminate the divorce and keep your marriage intact. The method you use to retract your divorce filing will vary depending on when and how you withdraw the petition. State laws differ with regard to the exact forms you must use and the requirements you must meet before you can retract a pending divorce.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Michigan if You Have No Children?

Establishing custody and support for a minor child can be a time-consuming aspect of the divorce process. These matters often become highly contested and Michigan law imposes a longer waiting period for divorces if you have children. Otherwise, the time it takes to finalize any divorce generally comes down to how quickly you and your spouse can agree on all issues and reach a settlement.

Ohio No-Fault Divorce Requirements

Ohio couples can choose an uncontested divorce, called a dissolution, in which they agree to the divorce and on all major issues. However, if spouses cannot agree on one or more issues, they will enter into a contested divorce instead. In Ohio, dissolution and divorce have different procedures, but both result in the termination of a marriage.

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