When you know divorce is the right option, it’s good to keep moving. The sooner you start the divorce process, the sooner it’s over. But that doesn’t make the decision any easier, especially when it involves legal processes.
Filing for divorce requires many steps, starting with filing a petition for divorce. You can’t start that process, however, until you know where to file.
DIY divorce? Figure out where to go – and when you can file
Many people want to handle their own divorce. You can do that, but there are processes to follow and many divorce forms and court forms to file. It’s easy to get tripped up and make an innocent mistake that costs you extra filing fees and lost time before you get your final decree.
If you choose to file the petition for divorce yourself, you need to figure out where to file the paperwork. Many states direct you to certain courts. States have different levels of courts: Some are called circuit courts, others are superior courts, and most have family court divisions. Some states allow you to file your divorce petition in any county in the state, while others impose certain residency requirements. Take note of your state’s specific rules so you don’t add extra time and expense to your divorce.
Have you met the residency requirements to file for divorce?
Most states have a residency requirement stipulating that you must have lived in the state for a certain amount of time before filing for divorce. So, if you've recently moved to a new state, make sure you’ve lived there for at least the minimum amount of time to file for divorce. Whether you use a lawyer, a divorce service, or do it yourself, you’ll be subject to the residency requirement.
- In California, you must live in the state for a minimum of six months and the county where you file for at least three months immediately preceding your divorce. To file, go to the Find Your Court page and enter your ZIP code. Follow the prompts to narrow down your search as needed.
- In Colorado, one of you must have lived in the state for at least 91 days before filing for a dissolution of marriage. Court clerk offices accept dissolution paperwork. You must submit your paperwork at an office in the county where you or your spouse reside. Visit the Courts By County page, select your county, and navigate to the court clerk’s information.
- In Utah, you must have lived in Utah for at least three months immediately before you file for divorce. Filing your divorce petition should occur in the Utah District Court of the county where you or your spouse live.
- In Texas, one of you must have lived in Texas a minimum of six months before filing for divorce and in the county where you plan to file for at least the past 90 days. Once you meet those requirements, you can file in the county District Court.
- In New York, one of you must have lived in the state for at least one year before starting the divorce process. To file, locate the Supreme Court in the county where you or your spouse currently live. Note that New York is the only state that refers to its lower courts as the Supreme Court. So don’t worry, you’re not filing this in the highest court in the state! It’s the right court with an imposing name.
- In Florida, one of you must have lived in the state for six months. If you and your spouse agree, you can file for divorce in any county in Florida. But that’s not a common occurrence. So you’ll need to locate the Circuit Court covering your county. Note that most Florida circuit courts cover more than one county.
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Want to file for divorce online? First, decide if it’s right for you
An online divorce is one where you use an online divorce preparation service like Hello Divorce. These services provide you with the state-specific forms you need, help you complete them, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to file them. Some states even allow online e-filing for divorce.
Worried about the legitimacy of using an online service? It’s perfectly legal to get help preparing your divorce paperwork. Ultimately, you sign the documents and attest to their validity. The online service provides support and assurances that the forms are the ones required for your state.
Requirements for an online divorce
To keep your proceedings entirely online, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your online divorce must be uncontested. An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all issues.
- There must also be no minor children involved.
- You must agree to a no-fault divorce. This means that neither party blames the other for their dissolution of marriage. Rather, the marriage has simply reached its conclusion. You can claim irreconcilable differences as a reason for a no-fault divorce.
Online divorce isn’t right for you when:
- Your spouse doesn’t want a divorce.
- You have at least one minor child.
- You can’t agree on who gets the marital home or how to divide other property.
- Your marriage has complex financials.
- You are afraid for your safety and the safety of your children.
FAQ about filing for divorce
How do I select an online divorce provider?
Getting an online divorce sounds like a quick and easy solution. And it can be. You just need to make sure the provider you choose can give you the support and guidance you need in your state.
As shown above, every state has slightly different rules and regulations regarding who can file for divorce in their state. Thus, the online divorce provider you choose must be able to help you navigate the complexities of your state’s laws.
Do your research before signing up with a service. Visit their website, and review the states they operate in. Make sure you feel comfortable with the service you choose and that they give you the support and guidance you need.
Can I only use Hello Divorce if my divorce is uncontested?
No. At Hello Divorce, we help people who wish to end their marriages or partnerships in all types of situations.
Hello Divorce is unique in that we provide multiple types of service. If your divorce is uncontested, you can purchase one of our plans and proceed from there. View your options here.
If your divorce is more complex, we can still help, but some extra steps will likely be required. See our page on the flat-fee and hourly services we provide when divorce is not entirely straightforward.
If you’re unsure which plan or flat-free service best fits your needs, not to worry. Schedule your free 15-minute call to figure out more. You can view our calendar of open appointments and sign up for your call on our web page here.
At Hello Divorce, we offer multiple benefits:
- With some plan types, we file for you
- Flat rates
- Knowledgeable and state-specific guidance, support, and divorce forms
- Access to divorce attorneys
- Expert divorce planning session
- Mediation support
The decision to divorce is an emotional and gut-wrenching one. It makes sense that you want it to go as smoothly as possible. An online divorce provider may be right for you.
When choosing an online divorce provider, make sure you get what you need: state-specific guidance and support at cost-effective rates. Hello Divorce can help you start a new and exciting chapter in your life, lifting much of the legal stress and worry off your shoulders.