How you’ll write a divorce petition will primarily depend on where you live. This will also determine the name of the document. Here are the general steps you’ll use:
Create the header. This generally reads IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF [COUNTY] OF [STATE]. Some states use other terms for the court other than “district,” such as "Supreme Court" or "Superior Court." Make sure that you have the proper name for the court that handles divorces in your state or county.
You’ll use IN RE: The Marriage of [Petitioner’s Information] AND [Respondent’s Information] on the left side of the page. On the right, you’ll have a space for a case number that will be assigned by the clerk's office. For the petitioner’s and respondent’s information, you’ll need the full legal name and full address (including zip code) even if the parties still reside together.
Next, you’ll need the age of the petitioner because the petitioner is the person filing for the divorce.
Depending on your jurisdiction, you may also need to list the petitioner’s social security number or at least the last four of it.
Next, you’ll list the job title and employer of the petitioner. This includes the address of the business.
Now, you’ll list how long the petitioner has lived in the county where the divorce is being filed. This is done in years and months. For example, 5 years and 2 months.
List the date that the parties were married and where the ceremony took place.
You may also need to list the date that the parties stopped living together.
List whether there are any children born or adopted into the marriage. Right now, it doesn’t matter if they are minor children. If the children are adults, you would state that the children are over the age of 18 or 21.
List whether the wife is currently pregnant.
For every minor child, you’ll list their name and date of birth.
List the reason for the divorce.
List whether the parties have entered into a signed separation agreement. If so, the date that it was signed should be listed. The agreement should be attached as an exhibit for the court.
List whether the parties have a signed divorce settlement agreement. If so, the date that it was signed should be listed. A copy of the settlement agreement should be attached as an exhibit for the court.
If there is a marital residence, lists who owns it. It may be owned by one spouse or both.
List whether there is “divided interest” in the marital home and any other real estate owned by the spouses together. If yes, give the full address of each property.
Tell the court whether the spouses have agreed to sell the property owned together and split the proceeds.
Each party will need to complete a financial statement and turn it over to the court to show their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
If the respondent consents to the divorce, the jurisdiction may allow them to waive their appearance. This is known as an uncontested divorce. However, you need to check with the court and determine what you’d need to do to include the proper language. This is generally done with an appearance waiver.
List the date that the petitioner filed the divorce.
Create and use a notary acknowledgement form that is signed in front of a notary. This should be done for both spouses if they both consent to the divorce and want to get it over with as quickly as possible by state law.
Create a decree of divorce that basically contains all of the decisions made in how assets and debts are divided, who will keep possession of the marital home, and whether the wife will change her name. Support and custody are generally addressed in a marriage separation agreement or a divorce settlement agreement. The judge will sign off on this order.