Divorce FAQs

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Divorce can be intimating and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Once it’s over, it can be liberating, and it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think. If you spend some time researching, you can save a lot of time and money.

Do I need a lawyer to get divorced?

Although you don’t need a lawyer to get divorced, divorce can be complicated. There are many issues, ranging from financial to emotional, that an attorney can help resolve. Even if you and your spouse have no disagreements at the start of the divorce process, disagreements may come up in the future. It’s important to speak with an attorney to discuss current issues in order to prevent future disputes.

What is a no-fault divorce?

A no-fault divorce occurs because at least one party no longer wants to be married. Prior to no-fault divorces, one spouse had to be at fault for the marriage not working.

What happens if my spouse and I can’t reach an agreement?

If you and your spouse choose either mediation or collaborative divorce, your attorney will work with you to reach a settlement. However, when an agreement cannot be reached, both parties will likely have to go to court to resolve any additional disputes.

Do I have to pay alimony?

Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, is not typically mandatory. However, the standard for determining whether alimony will be awarded is whether the spouse can maintain his or her customary standard of living after the divorce. If the spouse cannot live at a similar level enjoyed during the marriage, the court will consider awarding alimony.[1]

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree to all terms of the settlement.

How long does it take to get divorced?

This simple question has a complicated answer. After a complaint is filed, depending on the number of issues, whether an agreement is reached, and whether parties chose to litigate or engage in alternative dispute resolution methods (mediation or collaborative divorce), will dictate how long the process will take. An uncontested divorce can take anywhere between six week and twelve months.[2]

What steps are involved for a divorce?

A Complaint or Petition is first filed with the court. A copy of the Complaint is delivered to your spouse, typically by a police officer. Your spouse is given a specified number of days to answer the complaint. What happens next depends upon how many issues you and your spouse have to discuss. Whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement will determine how long and costly the process will be.

What is a marital settlement agreement?

A marital settlement agreement lists the issues related to the divorce and how the parties will proceed after the divorce. These include property division, alimony, child custody, and other related topics. They can vary from case to case depending upon what marital assets must be divided.

How much does it cost to get divorced?

Attorney fees will likely vary from attorney to attorney. However, court fees (filing and serving your spouse) will likely cost between $200 and $500.[3] Mediation and Collaborative Divorce is less expensive than litigating because you avoid going back and forth to court with your attorney.

What is a Domestic Relations Order?

A domestic relations order gives one party rights to a portion of the retirement benefits his or her spouse earned through his or her employer’s retirement plan. A domestic relations order becomes qualified once the plan is accepted.[4] Retirement benefits can only be divided between former spouses if a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is in place.

[1] Divorce FAQ. Legal Zoom.

[2] How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take? Love to Know.

[3] 10 Divorce FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce. Legal Zoom.

[4] I’m getting divorced: What is a qualified domestic relations order and why should I care? Pension Rights Center.