How to File a No Fault Divorce Without a Lawyer

By Beverly Bird

A no-fault divorce simply means that you are not accusing your spouse of doing anything wrong to end your marriage. It’s not the same as an uncontested divorce, in which your spouse offers no legal opposition to the proceedings. With a no-fault divorce, you’re simply giving him less to contest. He cannot argue your grounds, or the fact that you believe your marriage is over. He can only object to the way in which you've asked the court to end the marriage, such as how you'd like your property divided between the two of you.

Step 1

Identify your state’s no-fault grounds. All 50 states currently offer no-fault divorces, but some use different terms to refer to them. In some jurisdictions, the no-fault grounds may be known as “irreconcilable differences.” Other states use phrases such as “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” “insupportability” or “incompatibility.” Some states require that you and your spouse live apart for a period of time and file on separation grounds, another no-fault option.

Step 2

Download a petition or complaint for divorce from the Internet. Many states offer these divorce documents on their websites. Other legal websites offer them as well, but if you download one from such a source, make sure it applies specifically to your state. Complete the petition, checking off the no-fault grounds you are using.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

File your completed petition or complaint with the proper court. The name of the court, such as “Family Court,” “District Court” or “Superior Court” can be found on the top of the first page of your petition. In most states, you can file in the county where either you or your spouse reside, but check your state’s website or call ahead to the court to make sure.

Step 4

Find out what methods of service your state accepts. This information is usually available on your state’s website as well, or ask the court clerk when you file your petition. All states require that you give your spouse a copy of your divorce petition in such a way that you can file proof with the court that you've done so.

Step 5

Arrange for the method of acceptable service that best suits your personal situation. Most states allow you to have your county sheriff or a private process server deliver your petition to your spouse, but this might embarrass him if it occurs in public. If your divorce is amicable and you're hoping for an uncontested resolution -- and if your state allows it -- you might want to mail him your petition, or give it to him yourself and have him sign an acknowledgement of service that he received it.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Get a Divorce When One Spouse Won't Agree


Related articles

The Inability to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas

It's frustrating when the respondent in a lawsuit is dodging process, especially in a divorce case. Ordinarily, a divorce petition is served by hand-delivering it to the respondent. But the case can proceed even when the respondent is avoiding service of process. A petitioner can serve the respondent by having the process server tape the divorce petition to the respondent's front door, or by publishing a notice of the divorce suit in a local newspaper, with the permission of the court.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas

Often, the easiest part of getting a divorce is filing your petition with the court. Your next step after the court filing is to inform your spouse that you’ve filed the initial papers in the proceedings. This is known as “effectuating service,” and involves ensuring that your spouse has a copy of your divorce petition. Texas law allows you to accomplish this in a variety of ways.

How to File for an Annulment in Maryland

You can only file for annulment in Maryland if your marriage possesses certain defects. For example, if your spouse lied to you about being able to conceive children, if one or both of you were underage when you married, or if you were extremely intoxicated during the marriage ceremony, these issues would qualify as grounds for annulment. If your marriage involved bigamy or incest, filing for annulment may not even be necessary. You can simply walk away because such marriages are never legally valid in Maryland to begin with.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Divorce a Person Out of the Country

Divorcing someone who does not live in the United States can be a little like threading a needle in a hurricane -- very ...

What if My Wife in New York State Refuses to Divorce Me?

Until 2010, if you lived in New York and your wife refused to divorce you, she could have complicated the situation ...

How to Obtain a Divorce in North Carolina

If you wish to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you can hire an attorney to handle the process for you or you can ...

How to File for a Divorce Even When the Other Spouse Does Not Want to Sign the Papers

Only under one circumstance would you need your spouse to sign papers so you can get your divorce. You need her ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED