Pro Se Divorce Documents
Each jurisdiction has its own divorce forms and forms and affidavits may have different names in different jurisdictions. A contested divorce may require as many as 20 different forms and affidavits. An uncontested divorce usually requires far fewer. Uncontested divorces -- either summary, simplified or default -- required even fewer, particularly when there are no children involved. Here are some of the basic forms used in most jurisdictions in most cases:
The Summons puts the defendant (or respondent) on notice that he or she has a certain number of days (generally 20 to 30) to file an answer or face a default judgment against him or her. It often warns that a failure to obey the a temporary order against dissipation of marital assets and harassment of the other spouse means that he or she may be found guilty of contempt.
The Complaint (or Petition), which often must be verified by the plaintiff (or petitioner), lists irreconcilable differences as the grounds for divorce and stipulates that the parties meet the conditions for a dissolution (or divorce).
The Verification, which often must be notarized, certifies the truth of the complaint and must be notarized. A false verification puts the plaintiff at risk of contempt of court.
The Settlement Agreement, which is signed by both spouses and must be notarized, stipulates the terms and conditions of the division and distribution of the marital estate. The agreement, if approved by the court, may become incorporated by reference in the divorce decree. Some jurisdictions provide forms for the settlement agreement; others permit the couples to write their own agreements.
Property and Debt Listing
The Property and Debt listing, which is signed by both spouses and usually must be notarized, is filed only if the parties have agreed to a property settlement. From the information on this form, the court determines the fairness of the division of assets and liabilities in the settlement agreement.
Admission of Service
The Admission of Service, which must be signed by the defendant (or respondent) and is often notarized, attests to the receipt and acceptance of the summons and complaint. The Admission of Service means that he or she waives formal service of the divorce papers. This is a key step in a default divorce.
Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment
The Affidavit of Proof for Stipulated Judgment, which is signed by the plaintiff and must be notarized, recapitulates the Complaint and incorporates the terms of the settlement agreement into the court’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Judgment.
Finding of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment
The Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Judgment states the court’s finding and conclusions about the case and orders the divorce.
The Judgment ends the marriage.
Petition for Waiver of Fees
An indigent Plaintiff may file a Petition for Waiver of Fees, asking that the court waive filing fees associated with the dissolution.
Financial Affidavit in Support of Petition of Waiver of Fees
The indigent Plaintiff files a Financial Affidavit in Support of Petition of Waiver of Fees, which profiles the finances of both the Plaintiff and the Defendant.
Order Waiving Filing Fees
If the court approves the Financial Affidavit in Support of Petition of Waiver of Fees, it issues an Order Waiving Filing Fees.
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