Document your alimony arrangement
Document the terms of a legal separation
Get organized before filing for divorce
Make a sworn statement about your finances
Get a copy of your marriage or divorce documents
Get a copy of your divorce records
Remind a former spouse that alimony is due
Alert others of your name change
Get a divorce FAQs
It is not required that you hire a lawyer to get a divorce. If you and your spouse communicate well and are not disagreeing on major topics, you can get a divorce without a lawyer. If you do not have children and minimal assets, it is even easier. You can complete a divorce worksheet together to decide on how assets and debts will be divided. You may also benefit from working with a mediator, which are much more affordable than lawyers.
If you and your spouse are disagreeing on major topics such as child custody and division of large assets, you may benefit from hiring a lawyer. A lawyer can also help you discover assets and debts you may not have been aware of, which can be greatly beneficial if spouses have large variances in income and assets.
Divorces can be financially and emotionally costly; however, some are actually quite low-cost. State filing fees vary, but a simple divorce may only cost you and your soon-to-be former spouse a few hundred dollars.
Additional divorce costs may include:
Many factors contribute to how long it may take for a divorce to finalize. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, you still may be subject to mandatory "cooling off" or waiting periods and the time it takes the court to process your case. Sometimes the waiting period can be as long as six months.
State laws dictate how much spousal support may have to be paid, if at all. A spouse can also refuse spousal support, which should be in writing before final divorce papers are filed. If it is decided that spousal support should be paid, the judge may calculate the amount due based on a variety of factors including:
The payments may be required for a set amount of time until the courts declare an end date, or until the receiving spouse remarries. Often the time is based on how long it may take the lower earning-spouse to be able to earn a living wage.
Learn about uncontested divorce and no fault divorce requirements in your state: