Q. My husband and I are finishing up our divorce agreement. We have been working with a mediator. He said once everything is signed, we need to file it with the court and get a hearing date. My friend told me she was in court last week and some poor woman went to the clerk’s office and begged for help filing her divorce. She was repeatedly told she had to e-file it and the woman was saying she had e-filed and it was rejected twice and she just wanted to be divorced already.
I am really not so good with technology and can only imagine I will be that woman. Do you have any tips on how I can do things right the first time? And can you tell me what happens after we file?
A. First of all, you do not have to e-file your paperwork but many people prefer to do it that way. You can take your documents and walk in to the court clerk’s office with a money order or bank check for $215 (that is the filing fee for a joint petition for divorce where you do not need a summons). They do not accept personal checks but most, if not all, accept credit card payments. You can also send the court all of the papers and your payment by mail, Federal Express, courier or any other such delivery method you can think of.
If you want to electronically file your documents, you need to upload them in a specific order for acceptance. Assuming all of these forms are necessary for your case, the order should be as follows: Joint Petition for Divorce, Marriage Certificate, Form R 408, Affidavit of Care and Custody, Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown, Separation Agreement, Financial Statements and Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
Once your documents are accepted for filing you will get a notice of a hearing date. Some judges are still hearing uncontested divorces over Zoom, others want you to come in person. Either way bring a copy of your paperwork with you so if the judge has a question you can refer to the papers if you need to.
The judge will ask you a series of questions including whether you read and understand the agreement, if you feel it is fair in your circumstances, and if anyone forced you to sign.
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