Joint Petition for Divorce
Not every divorce has to be riddled with conflict. In many situations, couples decide that a divorce is in both of their best interests. Then they can proceed with the process together. Cooperating with one another and using a divorce lawyer to draft joint divorce documents will make the divorce process easier, faster, and less expensive.
Technically there are two ways for an uncontested divorce to unfold. The first way both spouses complete and sign a joint petition. The second method is one spouse files a divorce, and afterward, both spouses sign an uncontested divorce decree. In this article, we are going to discuss the joint petition method, also known as an “uncontested divorce” or a “joint divorce.”
In Nevada, Joint Petition, Joint Divorce, and Uncontested Divorce mean the same thing. Couples can file a form called a Joint Petition for an uncontested divorce. If you agree on every aspect of your divorce, including property division, debts, spousal support, child support, and child custody, you can then file a joint petition.
A joint divorce is faster and less expensive than a contested divorce because you rarely have to appear in court. The spouses simply sign the documents the divorce lawyer drafts, a judge signs the papers, and then filed with the court. The entire process can take as few as 10 to 15 days. However, the average time is 30 to 60 days.
Many clients decide to file a divorce and feel their spouse will sign the documents, or feel there spouse should sign the documents. Nonetheless, bringing up the topic is rarely easy. How can you tell whether your spouse is ready or willing to file a Joint Petition for a divorce?
Picking an appropriate time to have the conversation will be extremely important to encourage a rational, adult discussion. During the actual conversation, it is essential to be calm and collected. Screaming at your spouse is rarely productive, and blame only makes the conversation worse. Be prepared for their reaction. Even though you have spent a lot of time planning for this conversation, he or she may not have. Allow them a little bit of time for the idea to sink in. Here is an article on how to talk about divorce with your spouse.
The first conversation may not be the best time to discuss the details of the divorce. Speaking in broad terms will likely be easier for both spouses at this point. You can hammer out the details after you have both had some time to consider the ramifications. However, you can get a feel for your spouse. Does he or she seem completely unwilling to divorce? Or does it seem like the idea has some appeal for your spouse?
After you have broken the ice, you need to test the waters and see what terms your spouse is looking for in the divorce. We have found the best way to see what they want is to discuss a joint petition worksheet.
The worksheet was initially created to gather information from clients about the terms they had already agreed on. Our clients quickly realized it was also a useful document to discuss divorce terms with their spouse. By reviewing the document together, you can tell what they want, what they aren’t sure about, what they wouldn’t agree to. The worksheet is a useful tool to test the waters. Download Joint Petition Worksheet.
The main step with the worksheet is to itemize all of your income, assets, and debts. This includes community assets and assets which are in your name only. We see situations where couples have been physically separated for some time, who think that they do not have to list their separate bank accounts. Or couples who spent their whole marriage using separate bank accounts.
You need to list everything, and allow the divorce lawyer to explain what is community property and what is separate property. A good joint petition will list all the husband’s assets and all the wife’s assets. By listing all property, even items owned before the marriage, neither spouse can file a future lawsuit claiming the decree left something undecided.
Your list of assets may include:
- House, and other real estate
- Vehicles, recreational vehicles, and boats
- Bank accounts
- Investment accounts
- Pension and retirement accounts
- Personal property (usually anything sentimental or worth of $500 or more)
After you both have listed all the property and debts, then you can decide who gets what or who is responsible for which debts. Don’t worry if you can’t completely agree. A divorce lawyer can mediate a lot of property and debt disputes.
Spousal support and decisions involving children are often more heated or passionate discussions compared to dividing assets or debts. Nonetheless, you and your spouse must agree on these issues as well to file an uncontested divorce.
Child support can be calculated using our child support calculator. You must also decide on legal custody and physical custody of the children. You should also establish visitation schedules as part of the joint petition.
Spousal support (also known as alimony) will generally be awarded if one spouse cannot maintain the lifestyle they had before the divorce without additional funds from the other spouse. Spousal support can have a specified duration, such as years, or until spouse finishes school. We have a spousal support calculator.
Not every spouse will agree to settle, and file an uncontested divorce. This is not unusual. Sometimes it based on a lack of information, and sometimes it is purely emotional. For some tips on getting your spouse to agree read Why Won’t My Spouse Settle.