How to Simplify Your Divorce

By Valerie Stevens

Divorce is never easy, but a spirit of cooperation will go a long way toward simplifying the process. Examine what you really want out of the divorce and work toward that end. If assigning blame is not important, consider filing on a no-fault basis. By choosing to cooperate in writing the final chapter of your marriage, you and your spouse can reduce the stress brought on by divorce.

Step 1

Filing for a no-fault divorce, without assigning guilt or blame for the breakup of the marriage, will simplify the process in most states. When you file for a no-fault divorce, there is no need for a trial or the discovery process leading up to a trial. A no-fault divorce is filed on the basis of irreconcilable differences or a certain period of separation in some states.

Step 2

Agree with your spouse on the division of marital property and debt. Prepare a list of all the property and debt you own together and divide it between the two of you. Consider the difference in your incomes when dividing intangible assets and debt. When children are involved, the spouse who will have them most of the time usually will want to keep the marital home.

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Step 3

Agree with your spouse on a custody arrangement, if applicable. Decide who will have primary physical custody and how involved the other spouse will be in day-to-day decisions regarding the children. Map out a visitation plan with as much detail as possible to avoid future disagreements.

Step 4

Set an amount of child support based on your combined incomes that the non-custodial parent will be able to afford and provide for the children. Many states have a child support calculator online that can help you determine an appropriate amount. The law has guidelines that may limit your flexibility in deciding the amount of child support.

Step 5

Put your agreement in writing so you can ask the court to approve it as part of your divorce decree. If you hired an attorney, he can draft an agreement for you.

Step 6

Find out if you are eligible to file a simplified divorce, if offered in your state. Some states offer simplified divorces for people with no children who agree on all issues. Some states have specific forms you can use to file. Contact the clerk of court in your county to find out if this option in available.

Step 7

Ask your spouse to cooperate with you and file together if your state does not have a simplified divorce process. One person usually has to file as the plaintiff in a divorce, but you can both file financial information forms at the same time.

Step 8

Ask your spouse to accept service of the divorce petition so you do not have to hire a process server or deputy to serve him.

Step 9

Participate in mediation if you and your spouse cannot agree on some or all of the issues of your marriage. A good mediator can guide you and your spouse to an agreement, which you can ask the court to approve at a final hearing.

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