Ready to Finish Your Divorce? Here’s How

"I started my divorce ages ago and I just want to get it done but I have no idea how. Every time I try to complete it, the court rejects my forms. What can I do to finish it up without spending thousands of dollars on a lawyer I don't need?"

Can you relate? We hear something similar from hundreds of people who sign up for our 15-minute free informational call. By the time they speak with us, they've tried everything and have almost given up. Some have worked with a paralegal and others have tried another DIY service and their forms were incorrect. Others started with a lawyer, battled it out in court, ran out of money, and then abandoned the process. Now they are ready to move on with their lives and want to disconnect legally and financially from their spouse. Or, at minimum, they just want to put the legal stuff behind them so they can focus on co-parenting going forward.

It's completely understandable to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. After all, the legal system makes it nearly impossible to DIY a divorce. Rules and forms are constantly changing and court clerks often have requirements that seem arbitrary and are not published on self-help websites. Ugh! So here's the deal. Unless your case was dismissed by the court (this sometimes happens if your divorce has been pending for years and there are no orders concerning financial support or parenting), you can likely just pick up where you left off.

Here's how to finalize your divorce:

  • Schedule a 15-minute call with Hello Divorce: It's best if you have your case number ready for the call. You can get that by usually looking for the number or letters in the top right corner of one of your filed divorce forms. If you can't find your divorce papers, call the family law clerk in the county you filed your divorce in and they should be able to provide it to you.
  • Determine which forms still need to be completed by using our state-by-state divorce flowcharts: You can also use our checklists like this one for California to figure out what you still have to complete. In all states, you need to prove to the court that your spouse was "served" (unless you are in a state like Colorado where you can file for divorce together) but most states allow the responding spouse to sign a waiver of formal service. Either way, it has to be done correctly in order to have your divorce signed by the judge.
  • Additionally, some states require you to take a parenting class if you have kids with your ex or attend a prove-up hearing before your divorce can finally be processed. Almost every state has three required steps for divorce:
  1.  The petition (often called a complaint) starts the divorce process
  2.  Financial disclosures
  3.  The judgment (often called decree) plus agreement and related forms
  • Use our settlement term checklist or parenting plan worksheet: Ensure you have an agreement on all divorce-related issues. If you don't, consider spending an hour with a lawyer, mediator, or divorce financial planner (CDFA) to help you sort stuff out. They can meet with one or both of you – together or separate.
  • Choose a plan: Or, if you're not sure what you need, request a quote or schedule a call with us. If you've completed the first couple of steps we can create a custom product or service to meet your needs.
  • Get it done! Whether you just need a little help completing a form or you'd like some help navigating the complicated court rules, we can help. Take a deep breath, you're almost there.


Founder, CEO & Certified Family Law Specialist
Mediation, Divorce Strategy, Divorce Insights, Legal Insights
After over a decade of experience as a Certified Family Law Specialist, Mediator and law firm owner, Erin was fed up with the inefficient and adversarial “divorce corp” industry and set out to transform how consumers navigate divorce - starting with the legal process. By automating the court bureaucracy and integrating expert support along the way, Hello Divorce levels the playing field between spouses so that they can sort things out fairly and avoid missteps. Her access to justice work has been recognized by the legal industry and beyond, with awards and recognition from the likes of Women Founders Network, TechCrunch, Vice, Forbes, American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Leadership award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Erin lives in California with her husband and two children, and is famously terrible at board games.