Every state in the U.S has different laws about divorce. There is no federal divorce law. So it's important to educate yourself about your own jurisdiction's statutes on Marriage Dissolution, Divorce, Child Custody and Alimony, so you know what's typical or required for your state.
Most states, provinces and countries have website which give citizens access. Some of the details that apply to everyone in the jurisdiction are listed below. Some may be found in statues and some may require information from an attorney as to what the norm is. This is general information. Specific information provided to clients may only be done by a licensed attorney.
Use the Divorce Facts in My Jurisdiction to gather and organize this information.
Topics to know in advance
- Residency Requirements
- Grounds for Divorce
- Legal Separation (Six states do not recognize legal separation: Delaware, Texas, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida.) Is it recognized? Where can I find the guidelines?
- Determining Date of Separation
- If served papers, time allowed for responding.
- Property Division: The division could go very differently depending on whether you live in a Community Property State or an Equitable Distribution State.
- Countdown time on Court Calendar once you have filed for marital dissolution (divorce)
- Waiting period between filing Divorce Settlement Agreement and Decree Date.
- Child Custody – Visitation – Time Sharing Guidelines – Parenting Plan Requirement
- Child Support Published Guidelines-Worksheets on online calculators (Do a search for "child support calculator for ___[your state]___")
- Parenting Coordinators – Court Status of Recommendations from Parenting Coordinators.
- Alimony or Spousal Support Guidelines m. Unbundled legal services, limited scope representation and discrete task representation.
- Is there Support for Pro-Se Litigants (Do It Yourself, Self-Represented) available (see links below)
- Guardian ad Litem roles for representing a child’s legal rights
Online Resources for Divorce Statutes
Resources for US States Divorce Laws: www.divorcesource.com/ds/main/state-divorce-laws-656
Resources for Canadian Divorce laws: www.canadiandivorcelaws.com
Resources for Australian Divorce Laws: www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/family-law-matters/separation-and-divorce
Resources for UK Divorce Laws: www.gov.uk/divorce/overview
Child support and alimony (spousal support) calculators are online for some states. Know your state's basic guidelines before you negotiate. (Do a search for "child support calculator for ___[your state]___")
National Center for State Courts (NCSC): www.ncsc.org/Topics/Access-and-Fairness/Self-Representation/Resource-Guide
Self-Represented Litigation Network: www.srln.org
Glossary of Divorce Terms: Definitions of Legal Phrases
- 8 Common Divorce Questions LINK
- Legal Zoom: 10 Divorce FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce LINK
- 10 Things NOT to Do When You Divorce LINK
- Free and Low-Cost Legal Help: Do an online search for Legal Aid for divorce near me
- 40 Secrets Only Divorce Attorneys Know LINK
- FindLaw - includes a list of questions to ask when hiring an attorney LINK
High-Conflict Divorces: For Recommended books, scroll down to Topic 10. LINK
Experts You Might Need
- Family Law Attorneys
- QDRO Attorneys (for dividing up pension, retirement, 401(k) and IRA accounts)
- Family Mediators (including those who are not attorneys)
- Collaborative Law Groups
- Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) and Certified Financial Planners (CFP)
- Parenting Coordinators
- Guardian Ad Litem
- Therapists specializing in Personality Disorders, Domestic Violence and Abuse, Substance Abuse
- Family therapists specializing in Abuse, Trauma recovery, EMDR.
- Child Psychologists specializing in different age groups: pre-school/play therapy, elementary, and adolescents/teens, gifted and special needs children.
- Real Estate Agents who might specialize in divorce
- Mortgage brokers
- Divorce Support Groups or Divorce Support Meetups
- Domestic Abuse Resources – Shelters
- Legal Aid Services
- Children and Family Resources