How to File for Divorce Jointly

by Beverly Bird
Filing together typically requires that you've agreed to the terms of the divorce.

Filing together typically requires that you've agreed to the terms of the divorce.

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Not all states allow you and your spouse to file jointly for divorce, but if yours does, it can streamline the process significantly. You're not adversaries, as you would be with a traditional divorce filing, so you can work together more easily to end your marriage.

The Petition

If you and your spouse file a joint petition, you're asking the court for the same thing -- you both want a divorce. You would typically do so on no-fault grounds, agreeing that no one is to blame. Depending on your state, you may have to file additional documents. For example, Massachusetts requires that each of you file financial statements, telling the court about your assets, debts, budget and income. If you have children, you may have to file child support worksheets and a parenting plan.

The Marital Settlement Agreement

Typically, you and your spouse cannot file jointly unless you've reached an agreement resolving all aspects of your divorce, including custody, child support, alimony, and property and debt division. For example, both Ohio and Massachusetts require that you attach a copy of your agreement to your joint petition, letting the court know that your filing for divorce is uncontested. When you submit your signed agreement, you can usually finalize the divorce within a short period of time, as soon as the court reviews and approves it.