How Divorce Varies By State ?

How Divorce Varies By State ?

In each state divorce does not look the same. There are a lots of differences in divorce law as there are states. The requirements of one state may be completed different in another state or even in a neighbouring state. 

How are State Divorce Laws Different ?

The state divorce laws differ in various ways such as:

  • Process serving requirements
  • Waiting periods or cooling-off periods
  • Property distribution 
  • Divorce filing fees
  • Child custody laws
  • Child support and alimony or maintenance
  • Legal separation requirements
  • Base for divorce and getting a no-fault dovorce
  • How to file for divorce
  • Contested divorce that is going to court to resolve issues
  • Uncontested divorce 
  • Divorce vs. dissolution of marriage
  • Community property state vs. equitable distribution state

Every divorce is different in different states. The relatively easy divorce your friend had in a neighbouring state has no bearing on your own divorce. 

It is important to know the differences in dovorce laws and also the differences in each divorce by state.

There are too many details to cover all the differences, but this article will cover some from the above list.

How States Differ in Process Serving Requirements  ?

Almost all states permit any one 18 years or elder, who is not part of the divorce, serve diverse papers, which is called a petition or a complaint depending on the state. 

In many states, a lawman  or lawman’s deputy can also serve diverce papers. 

Some states decide the days on which these papers can be served. The states such as Tennessee, Maine, Florida, Massachusetts and New York do not permit service of papers on Sunday. 

New York prohibits service on Saturday if the person receiving them observes a religious holiday on Saturday.

Minnesota prohibits services on Sunday and holidays.

Some states require process servers to be licensed. Alaska, Delaware, Michigan, Nebada, Oklahoma and Texas require process servers to be licenced for service of diverce papers. New York requires process servers to be licenced in New York City but not statewide. 

California allows service by a friend, relative, deputy or professional process server. Despite California ‘s lenient rules for service, it is advisable to have a professional service papers for you. If process is served incorrectly, this can crush your case and again the service must be started.

In a contested dovorce, most states do not permit you to serve your own papers, but it may be possible for you to serve the papers yourself, if you are filing uncontested divorce papers.

Find out whether you can serve these papers from your country’s clerk. Remember, though, if you are going to serve them it is crucial for you to serve them properly.

What is a Cooling-Off Period and How Does it Change by State ?

A mandatory waiting period before a divorce is finalized is known as a divorce cooling-off period.

Its goal is to allow reconciliation, although it doesn’t often happen during this time.

The cooling-off period varies from state to state. It doesn’t include the amount of time the case could take to be resolved. Depending on your case cooling-off period could be a few months to a few years.

California has the longest Cooling-Off period -6 months. Before a divorce can be finalized in California  it will take 6 months plus one day even if everything else is resolved.

It doesn’t imply  that the divorce will only take 6 months. 

After the petition is served, the 6 months begins.

If there are children a cooling-off period may change. For instance, Idaho’s cooling-off period is 20 days but if there are children then 90 days is possible.

Some states such as New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia and Montana don’t have a cooling-off period. 

Check if there is a cooling-off period in your state and if so, how long it is.

How Do Filing Fees Vary by State ? 

Filling fees vary significantly from state to state. As fees are always changing, these amounts are approximation.

Florida’s is the highest at $ 421.00

California charges $ 395.00

New York charges $ 335.00

Illinois charges $ 324.50

Pennsylvania charges $ 316.98

To find out how much filing fees are in your state, check with your clerk’s office.

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