Should I Tell My Spouse Im Thinking About Filing For Divorce
Blindsiding your spouse with divorce papers usually kicks off a rocky start to an already-difficult process. Its natural to want to avoid this painful conversation and not have to witness the combination of anger, sadness, and despair on your spouses face when you break the news. In most cases, telling your spouse that your marriage is over is the most compassionate choice which honors the relationship you had together.
Carefully plan out the ideal time to let your spouse know. Make sure you wont be interrupted and the children arent around. Consider the most appropriate way your spouse would want to be told the news. Be firm but kind, and allow your spouse to grieve. Remember that youve had a long time to think about your decision, and your spouse will be at a different emotional place than you. There is nothing you can do to speed up the grieving process, so be patient and let your spouse come to terms with the divorce.
Dont let the conversation devolve into an argument this is not the time to blame, accuse, or revisit history. Its easy to be defensive or react if your spouse verbally attacks you. Listen quietly, and dont interrupt. Try to practice active listening so that your spouse knows youre hearing what is being said, and reassure them that although the marriage is over, your relationship is not.
Requirements For A Divorce In Arkansas
Residency: You or your spouse must have lived in Arkansas at least 60 days before you file for divorce and for at least 3 months before the judgment is given.
If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, your spouse and you must live separately for a period of at least 18 months. The separation should be voluntary. However, it can be voluntary for just one of the spouses. During the separation period of 18 months, your spouse and you should not have cohabitated.
Usually, separation for a period of 18 months and general indignities are the most common grounds for divorce in Arkansas, as these are easy to prove. The grounds should have occurred in the last 5 years. In case, your spouse doesnt want a divorce, then these grounds must be proved in the court at the final hearing, where you must bring a written affidavit or a witness as a proof of your testimony of the grounds and residency. If your spouse and you agree to the divorce, then there is no requirement for a witness.
Child Custody In Arkansas
In case your spouse and you have any minor children from the marriage, then there will be a custody determination. Usually, in the past, one of the parents was given the custody of the children while the other had visitation rights. Most times, the children lived with the parent who had the custodial rights, who also made the everyday decisions for the children.
The other spouse was given visitation times with the children and most of the major decisions were taken by both the parents, for example, medical care or schooling. However, today the trend is for both parents to play an active role in the lives of the children, which is essentially the concept of joint custody.
In Arkansas, the child custody law determines the custody on basis of the best interests and welfare of the child irrespective of the sex of the parent. If the child is old enough and has the capacity to reason, the judge may consider the childs wishes. However, the Arkansas State supports joint custody.
Recommended Reading: How Long To Be Married For Alimony
File The Divorce Petition
The divorce process starts with a divorce petition. Whether or not both parties agree to the divorce, one spousethe petitionermust file a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. The petition must include:
- A statement that at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce. In general, states require at least one spouse to live in the state for three to 12 months and in the county where the petition is filed for a minimum of 10 days to six months. The court cannot accept the case until the spouses meet the state’s residency requirements.
- A legal reason for divorce. These vary by state and whether you file an at-fault or a no-fault divorce. At-fault grounds include adultery, abandonment, impotence, infertility, criminal conviction, emotional or physical abuse, substance abuse, and mental illness. No-fault grounds include irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, and irretrievable breakdown.
- Any other statutory information the state requires.
Child Support Laws In Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, both parents are responsible for financially supporting their child or children, which means that the court can order either parent to pay reasonable child support. Typically, the parent who has less than 50% placement time would be the one responsible for making child support payments. This is because the parent who has more than 50% placement time is assumed to cover more of the child’s costs.
These payments are based on the income of the paying parent which could take the form of actual money earned, services, or property. Our child support calculator can assist you in determining what your approximate child support payment would be.
Recommended Reading: Divorce After 30 Years Of Marriage Alimony
Do I Have To Serve Discovery
Discovery is one of the many tools you have at your disposal during the divorce proceedings. It is 100% your choice as to whether or not you want to serve discovery. At its core, discovery is a process of information gathering. Every case is different, and as such, you need to determine whether or not discovery is the right strategy for your situation.
What Should I Do Before Filing For Divorce
Its always a good idea plan for your divorce. Here are some steps we recommend you take before filing:
Copy Important Documents.
Find and make copies of all documents related to your assets, debts, income, and expenses: tax returns, bank account statements, retirement account statements, life insurance policies, mortgage statements, auto insurance policies, credit card statements, and paycheck stubs. Its a great idea to make a digital copy of these documents and upload them to the cloud using a new random password-protected file. In addition to financial documents, you may want to consider copying family photographs, home videos, and other sentimental items.
Remove Personal Items.
Gather up your Social Security Card, medical insurance information, birth certificate, passport, and other personal documents. You will want to move these items to a safe place. Many families mix up these personal documents, and its easy for them to get misplaced when one or both spouses are moving out of the family home.
Protect your confidentiality by changing all of the passwords to your personal accounts. This includes passwords to your cell phone, email, computer, social media, and iCloud accounts. Make sure you select a password that your spouse cannot guess, keeping in mind that your spouse knows you better than probably anyone in the world.
Meeting with an attorney before you file will provide additional tips and resources.
Don’t Miss: How Long Do You Get Alimony
Avoid Diy If There Is Anger Or Deception
If your spouse is a cauldron of unresolved anger, such that the spouse is a danger to you or your children, then a DIY divorce is not appropriate. It’s also not appropriate if you have a reasonable belief that your spouse is hiding money or transferring joint assets out of your control. See our section on Hiding Money Before a Divorce to learn how it’s done and how the assets are found.
Where To File For Divorce
You do not have to go back to the state that issued your marriage license and, in some cases, you may not be eligible to file for divorce in that state. Typically, you will file for divorce in the state and county you live in. Each state has its own divorce laws and residency requirements, so it is important to be familiar with those requirements before filing. If you do not meet the residency requirements, you will not be eligible to file for divorce in that state.
For example, in North Carolina, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state. Residency requirements range from 0 days in Washington and South Dakota to a year in several states.
When both spouses live in the same state, choosing where to file is clear-cut. But when spouses live in different states or have residency in multiple states, it can get complex.
Read Also: Who Pays Alimony In Divorce
What Forms Do I Need To File For Dissolution Or Divorce
To start a case in court, you must file a document called either a complaint or a petition, and required attachments. The kind of complaint or petition you file will depend on your situation.
The first question is whether or not you have children, so please click on the appropriate link below to see a list of available forms:
What Happens After Service
Your spouse has 30 calendar days after service to formally respond to the divorce by filing a Response and if applicable, the UCCJEA . While you are waiting for your spouse to respond, we suggest that you start on your financial disclosures. For more information on how to complete your financial disclosures, please see Step 5: Temporary Orders.
Also Check: How Does Alimony Work In Ny
What Happens After You Give Notice To Your Spouse
- Your spouse is considered the defendant in the divorce case if you filed the Complaint.
- Your spouse has 30 days after being served to file a written response to your Complaint with the court. Your spouse does not have to file papers responding to your Complaint, but is entitled to do so if your spouse wants to. If your spouse would like his/her former name restored, he or she should file the Answer and Counterclaim found below.
- You cannot ask the court to hear your divorce case until at least 60 days have passed from the time your spouse was served. If the sheriff served your spouse in person, the 60 days begin to run the day after the sheriff served your spouse. If you filed a Voluntary Appearance signed by your spouse, the 60 days begin to run the day after you file the Voluntary Appearance with the court. If you served your spouse by publication, the 60 days begin to run the day after the last date the Notice of Divorce Proceeding was published in the newspaper.
Defendants Filing of Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage
If you are the defendant in this divorce you can file an Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage. Prepare the Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage using the Instructions for Completing the Answer and Counterclaim for Dissolution of Marriage .
Name restoration: Use this form to request that the judge restore your former name to you and to express yourself directly to the court.
Talk To An Attorney About Joint Bank Accounts And Credit Cards
Depending on how you and your spouse handle your joint financial accounts and credit cards, your attorney may advise you to close the accounts or leave them the same. You dont want to be in a situation where your spouse has the ability to run up bills in your name or drain the bank accounts both circumstances may take the entire divorce to sort out. Your attorney can best advise you about whether you should divide the accounts in half, close them, or leave them the same before filing for divorce.
Read Also: Cost Of Uncontested Divorce In Texas
Asking For Temporary Orders
Court processes take a lot of time to come to completion. Often, couples wait months or even years to get their divorces finalized. If you have pending issues such as spousal and child support, it is not possible to wait this long in limbo. The court understands that this would not be an ideal situation and allows you to file temporary orders.
These are court decisions that cater to both your needs until the divorce is final. To grant these orders, the court holds a hearing during which you and your spouse present your arguments. The court then rules on the case and you and your spouse must follow the judgment unless the court amends its decision.
For example, if your spouse is the breadwinner, you can request the court that your spouse keeps paying child and spousal support. If the court rules in your favor, you can get the funds, enabling you to retain the status quo. Temporary property restraining orders are also common. They bar spouses from disposing of marital property during the divorce processes until the court finalizes the divorce.
Suppose you have already filed a petition but did not include temporary orders they might be worth a second look.
Ask To Waive Your Appearance
If you cannot be there in person or on the telephone, you can file a form that asks the court to have the hearing without you.
- Appearance and Waiver of Notice of Hearing, DR-110
The court may need to call you so the form asks for a phone number to reach you, but this doesn’t mean that the court will call you.
Read Also: Free Consultation Lawyers For Divorce
Things You May Need To Consider
Check each of the headings below in case they are relevant to you. Each heading has information you may need before you apply.
If you have been married less than two years you will need to file a counselling certificate. For more information see the fact sheet Have you been married for less than two years?
To obtain a certificate you will need to attend counselling. To arrange counselling contact the Family Relationship Advice Line on . If you are unable to attend counselling with your spouse you will need to file an affidavit as per the fact sheet.
If you have been separated and living in the same residence for any part of the twelve months prior to filing your application you will need to provide extra evidence to prove that there has been a change in the marriage by preparing and filing an affidavit.
See for more information. If you are filing a joint application both parties should file an affidavit. In both types of applications you should also ask a third person to file an affidavit to corroborate your evidence.
If there are children of the marriage who are under 18 years of age it is important to provide particulars of the arrangements in Part F of the application including housing, if not at school – care arrangements, schooling – grade and progress – care before and after school, health of the child/ren, contact with each parent and if no contact, why?, financial support provided for the child/ren if not, why not?
A child of the marriage includes:
Petitioning The Court For Divorce
Tip: In addition to the state rules for divorce, the county where you file may have its own local rules and requirements. A local attorney can tell you about those.
You May Like: How To Avoid Paying Alimony In California
How To File For Legal Separation In California
A legal separation is when a married couple decides to live apart but remain married. This type of separation usually happens when a couple is having marital problems and they want to see if they can work things out without getting a divorce. If you and your spouse are considering a legal separation, you will need to file a petition with the court. The petition will ask the court to issue a separation order, which will outline the terms of your separation.
The legal status of marriage or a registered domestic partnership in California is terminated by the state. Those who do not wish to divorce may want to separate in legal separation rather than in divorce court. When a couple goes through legal separation, the court decides the same issues as in a divorce. A divorce does not end a marriage neither spouse is free to remarry. Even if you have not lived in California for more than a year, you can file for legal separation. Individual finances can be controlled while still preserving their health benefits through legal separation. A legal separation may be the best option when it is expensive to wait.