Step 1: Petition & Response

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  • Single Petition
  • Joint Petition
  • Filing a Response

Single Petition

Prepare Step 1 Forms

If you are ready to start your divorce (on your own), click “Start” to prepare your
 Step 1 forms instantly. The court will refer to you as the Petitioner and your spouse as the Respondent. When you have completed your forms, return here.

Step 1

Start

Want a lawyer to review?
Click to book a 30 minute session.

Overview:

  1. Review forms carefully (you can make changes directly to the form)
  2. Sign and date all forms
  3. Make at least two copies
  4. File your forms in the courthouse shown in the top left corner of the Petition
  5. Serve (deliver) the documents to your spouse
  6. File your Proof of Service or Waiver and Acceptance

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Next, file

Time to file your initial documents with the court.
DIY Pro members can skip to Step 2: Financial Statement.
Let’s do this:

  • Filing fee (usually $230)*
  • Sign forms
  • Send a copy to your spouse
  • Make 3 copies (if filing at court or by US Mail)
  • Add self-addressed-stamped-envelope if filing by mail

Quick tip: Can’t afford the court filing fee? Click here to learn more about a fee waiver and/or start the application at this link.

Next, Serve (aka deliver) forms to your spouse)

There is a mandatory 91-day waiting period before your divorce can be final. The 91-day waiting period doesn’t begin until your Petition is served.

There are two different ways we recommend you serve your spouse. Choose ONE method below.

  • Waiver and Acceptance of Service: RECOMMENDED – This is the easiest form of service. You simply email, mail, or hand your initial divorce forms to your spouse and s/he signs the Waiver.

 

  • Personal Service: Select the Sheriff’s Department, a private process server, or someone you know over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case, to serve your spouse.

Note: The Return of Service must be signed by the person who “served” (delivered) the documents to your ex.

DIY’ers: You now have your Proof of Service Forms:

File your Proof of Service or Waiver and Acceptance with the court (no rush!)

Joint Petition

Prepare Step 1 Forms

If you are ready to start your divorce (together with your spouse), click “Start” to prepare your Step 1 forms instantly. The court will refer to you as “co-petitioners.” When you have completed your forms, return here.

Step 1

Start

File

DIY Pro members click here to send us a note that you’re ready to file. Then, skip to Step 2 to see what’s next.
DIY’ers: You now have your Step 1 Forms:

  • Case Information Sheet (JDF 1000)
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation (JDF 1101)

Want a lawyer to review?
Click to book a 30 minute session.

Overview

  1. Review forms carefully (you can make changes directly to the form)
  2. Both sign and date all forms
  3. Make at least two copies
  4. File your forms in the courthouse shown in the top left corner of the Petition

Articles

Next, file

Time to file your initial documents with the court.
Let’s do this:

  • Filing fee (usually $230) *
  • Sign forms
  • Make 3 copies (if filing at court or by US Mail)
  • Add self-addressed-stamped-envelope if filing by mail

Quick tip: Can’t afford the court filing fee? Click here to learn more about a fee waiver and/or start the application at this link.

Filing a Response

Step 1: The Response

The purpose of a Response is to state in writing if you agree or disagree with the information in the Petition. It’s ok if you change your mind later. Since your spouse filled out the initial divorce papers they are known as the Petitioner for this case. You will be referred to as the Respondent.

Prepare Step 1 Forms

If you have already received divorce papers from your spouse, click “Start” to prepare your Step 1 forms instantly. You have 21 days to file a Response. When you have completed the forms, return here.

Step 1

Start

File & Serve

DIY Pro members click here to send us a note that you’re ready to file. Then, head to Step 2 to see what’s next.
DIY’ers: You now have your completed Step 1 Forms:

Want a lawyer to review?
Click to book a 30 minute session.

Overview:

  1. Review the forms you prepared carefully (you can make changes
directly to the form)
  2. Sign the Waiver and Acceptance Form
  3. Sign and date all forms
  4. Make at least two copies
  5. File your forms

Articles

Signing the Waiver and Acceptance Form

Unfortunately, the court requires that you sign this document in front of a notary or court clerk. Good news! In light of the Covid-19 situation, just complete the verification and you’re good to go.

Quick Tip: You can file the Waiver and Acceptance Form yourself or you can send it back to your spouse so s/he can file it.

Next, File

Time to file your initial documents with the court.
DIY Pro members can skip to Step 2: Financial Statement.

Let’s do this:

  • Filing fee (usually $116)*
  • Sign forms
  • Make 3 copies of each (if filing at court or by US Mail)
  • Add self-addressed-stamped-envelope if filing by mail
  • Send copy of Response to your spouse

Quick tip: Can’t afford the court filing fee? Click here to learn more about a fee waiver and/or start the application at this link.

Note: Before you file your response with the court, you will need to make a copy and send it to your spouse. This will allow you to fill out the last section on the form that gets filed with the court saying that you did this.

Congrats, Step 1 is COMPLETE!

Sometimes the court will ‘auto’ schedule an initial “Status Conference.” Don’t panic, while this is inconvenient, it’s not a hearing where you’re slinging mud at each other.
 Learn more about how to prepare for a Status Conference.

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