Let me start with this, no one plans on getting a divorce when they are getting married. At least I sincerely hope that's the case. But it does happen. It happened to me. I was amazed at the difficulty I had in finding information on how to go about filing for divorce. So I'm going to try and help out and make it easier for the next people that have to go through this.
These instructions are for filing for an uncontested (both parties agree on the terms) divorce pro se (without a lawyer), without children, and in the state of Idaho. If any of these don't apply to you then this instructable probably won't be terribly useful.
I am not a lawyer and don't pretend to know anything about law. What I am presenting here are the steps I took to get a divorce after my wife walked out on me. I paid the money to get this information and I've whittled it down to the steps others would need to follow to file for their divorce.
You can get through this.
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Step 1: Download, Print, and Fill Out All the Requisite Paperwork.
You can find the paperwork you need here under Divorce-No Children. Idaho Forms
You'll need the following:
a. Petition for Divorce
c. Family Law Case Information Sheet
d. Acknowledgement of Service
e. Sworn Stipulation for Entry of Decree of Divorce
f. Decree of Divorce
g. Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce or Annulment (Obtained from clerk if required.)
Step 2: Petitioner (the Person Filing for Divorce) Files for Divorce.
a. Notarize: Petition for Divorce
i. You will need multiple copies. Have one copy notarized and make copies of that for filing.
b. At the county clerk’s office inform the clerk that you wish to, “File an uncontested pro se divorce without children.” Take to the following paperwork with you:
i. Petition for Divorce (notarized and 2 copies)
ii. Summons (3 copies)
iii. Family Law Case Information Sheet (1)
iv. Your filing fee. This can vary county to county. I paid $207. Many clerk’s offices won’t accept personal checks and add a surcharge if paying with a credit/debit card. So if possible take cash. To find out the exact filing fee call your clerk’s office and ask.
c. The clerk will keep the original Petition for Divorce and the Family Law Case Information Sheet. The clerk will fill out the Summons and return it to the petitioner.
i. For the Petition for Divorce and Summons the clerk will stamp the original and copies with their handy “Original” and “Copy” stamps and return the copies to you, keeping the originals.
ii. All forms turned in to the clerk will be (file-stamped) indicating the date and time they are received. If this doesn’t happen, ask the clerk to file-stamp your documents for your records.
iii. Keep one of the copies of the Petition for Divorce and Summons for your records. The other copies will go to your spouse in the following step.
iv. You should also ask for the Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce or Annulment form at this time so you can fill it out in preparation for step 5.
Step 3: Serve Your Spouse.
a. Fill in the case number on the Acknowledgement of service. You’ll find it on both the Summons and Petition for Divorce forms.
b. Hand deliver or mail the following documents to your spouse (the respondent):
i. Acknowledgement of Service (3 copies)
ii. Copy of the Petition for Divorce (1)
iii. Copy of the Summons (1)
c. The respondent completes the Acknowledgement of Service (all 3 copies) upon being served by filling in the date that they were served with the Petition for Divorce and Summons.
d. Respondent has Acknowledgement of Service notarized. (Again, notarize one and make 2 copies)
e. Respondent returns the notarized Acknowledgement of Service to the petitioner.
i. Respondent keeps the copies of the Petition for Divorce and Summons for their records.
f. Petitioner files the following with the clerk:
i. Acknowledgment of Service (Notarized original and 2 copies)
ii. Their original Summons
g. Petitioner asks the clerk to file-stamp one of the extra copies of Acknowledgment of Service for their records.
h. Clerk keeps original Acknowledgment of Service and Summons
Note: The information in step 3 is presented as it should happen normally. It can vary slightly. For example: the respondent can file the Acknowledgement of Service and Summons with the clerk. As long as they have the case number the clerk should accept the forms. Also, depending on the guidelines for that particular clerk’s office the clerk may keep anything they stamp “Original” that’s fine, just take your file stamped “Copy” wherever necessary and be aware that you will always take it home with you for your records.
Step 4: Wait.
Wait 20 days. Idaho requires that petitioners wait 20 days from the time the respondent is served and signs the Acknowledgment of Service and the time they finalize the divorce filings.
a. Both the petitioner and the respondent sign the Sworn Stipulation for Entry of Decree of Divorce form with a notary.
i. They don’t have to sign it together but the form needs to be signed and notarized by both parties.
Step 5: Finalize Divorce Filing
a. Fill out the following forms, including the case number and file with the clerk:
i. Sworn Stipulation for Entry of Decree of Divorce (1)
ii. Decree of Divorce (3 copies)
iii. Vital Statistics Certificate of Divorce or Annulment (Obtained from the clerk if required by your county.)
iv. Two stamped envelopes. One addressed to the petitioner and one addressed to the respondent.
b. The clerk will file stamp all the documents. Two of the Decree for Divorce documents will be stamped copy, those will be what comes back to the petitioner and respondent from the judge.
c. The clerk passes all the paperwork to the judge where it is reviewed and the judge will either sign off on it or decide if a hearing is needed. If a hearing is necessary the petitioner will be notified. Otherwise the judge will send out the Decrees of Divorce and the divorce will be final.