Finalizing a Divorce

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Finalizing a Divorce

Most states will not automatically grant you a divorce once you file for one. There may be a mandatory waiting period between when a divorce is filed and when it is finalized. The purpose of this period is to encourage reconciliation between the two spouses.

The main steps to take to finalize a divorce include:

  1. Make sure you qualify to file for a divorce in your state.
  2. Make sure all the required paperwork is filled out and filed with the appropriate court.
  3. Give your spouse legal notice that you are filing a divorce.
  4. Go through the waiting period that is required by your state.
  5. File the application for entry of default and send a copy to your spouse.
  6. If you have a minor, complete your parent education course if the court requires one. The completion certification must be filed with the court stating that you completed the course.
  7. Schedule a court date and take all the necessary paperwork with you to your hearing.
  8. Complete the decree of divorce document that puts the terms of your divorce in writing. Either spouse can prepare this document.

The Waiting Period before a Divorce Is Finalized

The length of the waiting period before a divorce is finalize varies from state to state:

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce?

The court process for obtaining a divorce or annulment can be very confusing, so it may be wise to consult with a family attorney to help explain your rights and to protect your interests. Moreover, a lawyer can help you negotiate a divorce decree and assign debt responsibilities to the appropriate spouse.

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Last Modified: 08-20-2014 02:15 PM PDT

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