After my second marriage fell apart, my hubby left, leaving me destitute. I couldn't afford to keep a roof over my head much less pay for a divorce attorney. He was having too much fun, partying and didn't give a rats ass about filing so, if there were to be a divorce, I was going to have to take care of that.
He had been gone about six months when I started the DIY process (Do-It-Yourself), No-Fault divorce.
After hunting everywhere online for a complete set of the free paperwork that I needed to file for divorce and not finding any, I found out the local newspaper was selling a DIY divorce "kit."
Unfortunately, it cost $40. Oddly enough, my husband's cousin volunteered to pay for the kit as long as I never told anyone who had given me the money. I agreed.
Imagine my surprise when I bought the kit and it turned out to just be four sheets of paper, including an instruction page, a paper for names, addresses, etc., a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and the final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage papers.
Also, included was a statement which said that all property had been divided so it wouldn't be an issue, plus a statement saying the divorce was No Fault and uncontested. And there was a paragraph saying that I would not be seeking any alimony.
I made a copy of the three pages and mailed them to my husband because he lived 100 miles away. He signed the papers in front of a Notary Public and mailed them back. Then I also signed the papers in front of a Notary.
The next hurdle to get over was the filing fee. The court clerk advised me that I should contact legal aid to get a "Pauper's Affidavit," which included a financial worksheet, listing my monthly expenses and income. A Pauper's Affidavit is a legal statement swearing that you have no money to file for divorce.
After filling out the paperwork, I took it and proof of income to the judge's office. She read over the pages and approved the Pauper's Affidavit. Note: My only source of income was social security disability, so the judge didn't suggest I get a job to pay for the filing fee like she might have if I had been able-bodied.
The next step was to file all the notarized paperwork at the court clerk's office. Since I had the Pauper's Affidavit, there was no filing fee. I was told that I would receive a postcard in the mail with my court date. The courts were backed up for a couple of weeks, so it ended up being about 30 days before I went to court.
The divorce was granted, and I was told that it was my responsibility to make a copy of the final divorce papers and give them to my ex-husband. The same cousin who secretly paid for the DIY divorce kit also volunteered to hand-deliver the divorce papers to my ex.
If you're ready to get a DIY divorce, have no children with your spouse, and he or she has agreed to the DIY divorce, take these steps:
1. Make a mutual agreement with your spouse to a No-Fault divorce with no alimony and how marital property will be divided.
2. Buy a DIY kit. I made a copy of mine and set the papers aside to help other people avoid the cost of buying a kit. I have helped three people get divorced with the free paperwork.
3. Get notarized signatures on all paperwork by you and your spouse.
4. If you can't afford filing fees, contact the court clerk or legal aid to get a Pauper's Affidavit.
5. Take your divorce papers and proof of income to the judge, plus the Pauper's Affidavit if you need one.
6. File all paperwork at the court clerk's office. If you didn't get a Pauper's Affidavit, take the filing fee with you. Get your court date set up.
7. After the divorce is granted and finalized, give a copy of the Divorce Decree to your ex-spouse.
8. Relax and breathe. It's done.
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