Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage can be done in one of two ways: jointly or separately. Filing jointly has some benefits, such as helping to save on costs and being able to waive personal service because there would be no “Respondent” spouse. Being that the mandatory 92-day waiting period starts when the Respondent is served, you also avoid any possible delays that can occur when trying to serve the Respondent.
Whenever possible, we recommend working together to make the process smoother and help it move along quickly, but we recognize that isn’t always possible. If you choose to file separately, that’s okay, too. The Court won’t assign a value to whether you chose to file together or separately – so do what’s right for you.
Filing separately allows you to work on your forms alone rather than together, but also means you’ll have to be mindful of the fact that forms from both of you have to be received by the Court before a decree can be granted to finalize your divorce.
The cost of filing is $230, but if you can’t afford to pay it, you can file a Motion to File Without Payment and Supporting Financial Affidavit, which outlines your financial situation and allows the Court to decide whether to grant you a fee waiver or not, through Form JDF 205. Make sure you make two copies of all of your documents as you will be submitting the originals to the Court and need one copy for yourself and your spouse. The clerk will date-stamp all copies of your documents to reflect the date you filed the Petition. If filing separately, once you’ve filed, you will take one copy of all the documents you’ve filed along with the Summons for Dissolution of Marriage (Form JDF 1102) and a copy of any orders or notices provided by the clerk. You are required to serve your spouse as soon as possible.
To get through filing your Petition in a simpler way and with support, our Divorce Navigator walks you through the steps with easy to understand instructions.