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My Spouse Filed for Divorce: A Step By Step Guide to Divorce

By April 28, 2015March 9th, 2018No Comments4 min read

Getting divorced is never easy, especially when you have been served with divorce papers and you have no idea what to do! Sometimes all you need is a step by step guide to divorce and what to do next.


What do I do Now That my Spouse has Filed for Divorce?

There are several steps that will need to be followed once you have learned that your spouse has filed for a divorce.

  • You will be Served copies of the court forms your spouse has filed
  • You will at this point be considered the Respondent and your Spouse will be the Petitioner.
  • You will need to decide how you want to respond to the served paperwork, you have a few options

I Have Been Served How do I Know What to do?

Now is a good time to consult with a lawyer about what your best options are and advice you on how to proceed because it get complicated from here. Once you have been officially served you have two choices you can make, respond to the petition or begin communications on settlement. Your lawyer can help you decide which will serve your needs best.

You Can Choose to not Respond and Settle Amicably

If you have consulted with your lawyer and decide you do not wish to file a response you can simply wait and do nothing. In these cases the Petitioner will be required to file all necessary paperwork and go before the Judge for final decisions. If you and your spouse had agreed on everything and you agreed with what his paperwork stated, this might be the option your lawyer recommends. However be advised that since you didn’t file a Response the court can only go by what your Spouse has filed as Petitioner, unless you both agree otherwise. All decisions and court judgments will be based off of the Petitioner alone.

I Want to File A Response

You can choose to file a response back to the court stating your side of the case. In this situation your lawyer can help you decide the best way to fill out your response paperwork in order for your side to be equally represented. You only have 30 days to file a response with the court. There are special forms from the court house you need to fill out. After filling them out, you must file the papers with the court. There is a fee for filing. At this point someone will serve the Petitioner (your Spouse) copies of your court documents. Your lawyer will help make this as smooth as possible because they already have the correct documents and knows what to file.

Once the Petitioner has been served both of you will need to exchange financial documents. Basically this is where you will be figuring out the total marital debt, assets, and property in order to divide it fairly. These papers, called the declaration of disclosure, will also need to be exchanged and filed. A lawyer can make this process easier for both parties because it is easy to become emotional and angry at this point. Your lawyer will maintain a cool head and help you stay calm,  remember we are here for YOU!

Am I Divorced Yet?

To divorce all required paperwork must be submitted. Next a judgment from the court stating the terms of your divorce is obtained.  You may or may not have to appear before the judge. Your lawyer will let you know every step of the way.

It takes at least 6 months after filing all the paperwork in order to become divorced. Even then it is not automatic. There are still more papers to be filed with the court. The final steps and paperwork must be done exactly as they are described in the paperwork in order to finalize your divorce. Again your lawyer will ensure all documents get filed a necessary for you.


Even with a step by step guide to divorce, it is complicated! There are a lot of steps to take you from step to finish.  Proper procedure and paperwork will ensure that the process is as smooth as possible.

Minella Law Group can help you complete the process and take away all the unknowns and need for a step by step guide to divorce.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, click the button below, or call us at 619-289-7948.  We look forward to helping you.