Are you getting divorced and need to have a document notarized? Not sure how to find a notary public? We'll walk you through the process.
What is notarization and is it required in divorce?
A notary witnesses signatures on divorce documents or performs other legally approving acts with paperwork. Your court may require that certain documents get notarized.
Not all states require notarization, so be sure to check with your local government before taking any steps. In most cases, you will need to go to a notary's office or hire one for an in-home appointment. Fees vary by state and location, so it's important to do your research in advance. And finally, don't forget to bring along photo identification and any other documents that may be required.
Examples of divorce forms that must be notarized
While the specifics of divorce paperwork vary from state to state, there are a few documents that are typically required to finalize the divorce process. In many cases, these documents must be notarized in order to be considered legal.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: When a spouse initiates the divorce, they need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, signed under oath and in the presence of a notary public.
- Answer or Response: Just as the spouse initiating the divorce must sign the petition with a notary, the other spouse must submit their answer or response signed in the presence of a notary.
- Financial Affidavit: To ensure the accuracy of the information provided and that the parties to a divorce are the correct people, signing financial affidavits under oath in the presence of a notary is required in most states.
- Marital Settlement Agreement: If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, you’ll sign a marital settlement agreement, which will also be notarized.
These documents must be notarized for the sake of authenticity and accuracy. To ensure equitable distribution during your divorce, a court must believe that everything they’re reviewing is accurate. When both spouses are required to sign certain forms in the presence of a notary public, that gives the court confidence in the accuracy of the data, as each of these documents is signed under oath.
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Where to find a notary
Some states today allow for virtual notaries. This can make the process simpler but it is not allowed in all states. Make sure you review your state laws if you want to go this route.
Other locations where you can find a notary public include the following:
- Post office
- Law firms
- Accounting offices
- Traveling notaries
Some locations require you to schedule an appointment with a notary ahead of time. Others allow you to simply walk in and ask to have something notarized. To save time, check with the institution ahead of time so you know what to expect.
Is there a notary fee?
Usually, yes. But the fee is nominal. Some states even set a maximum fee that a notary public may charge per document, limiting the total fee you may be required to pay.
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