Initiating a Divorce: The Proper Steps, Part I

Let’s face it; divorce is scary for anyone. You’re uprooting your life and changing things you never imagined changing. Yet while it can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be. Sure, it’s easy to fight over the little things, but your divorce will run a lot smoother if you communicate effectively and follow the proper steps.

It’s Time to Separate

If you’re ready to make the plunge, you need to separate from your spouse. Separating is never easy, but it has to be done no matter what grounds for divorce you choose to file under. In some cases, separation can lead couples to reconcile. Unfortunately, for others, the often liberating experience can further cement the desire for a divorce. If you have successfully separated from your spouse and wish to pursue the divorce, the next step you need to take is petitioning for divorce.

Making it Official

When you petition or file for divorce, you need to file in the state where you live and make sure you’ve met the separation requirements. Filing for divorce is also known as a “Complaint for Dissolution of Marriage.” This requires that you can complete the necessary forms, pay a fee, and file the papers with the district court in the correct county.

If you choose to use a divorce attorney, your attorney will assist you in completing and filing the forms. If you decide against using an attorney, the process can become significantly difficult. The court personnel will not and cannot answer any legal questions or assist with your paperwork.

Grounds for Divorce

  • No-fault divorce
  • Irreconcilable difference
  • At-fault divorce

The reasons for divorce vary from state to state. You need to make sure you know what to choose as your reason for separating before you fill out the paperwork.

Let Your Spouse Know What’s Happening

Your third step is to notify your spouse. This is also known as having your spouse served. You or your lawyer will have to submit proof to the court that your spouse was formally notified about the divorce. In most cases, the spouse can sign a Voluntary Appearance document. During a specific period of time, your spouse will need to respond or file an answer. They’re usually given up to 30 days to get this done. Once your spouse has responded, you’ll begin the waiting period for a hearing to be set.

P&G is Dissing Dads. Again. Please sign the petition!

Four years ago, at the Beijing Olympic Games, Procter & Gamble’s ad campaign was “Proud Spstickonsor of Moms.” I complained loud and long about that one—how leaving dads out in such a glaring way was insulting and demeaning.

Now they’re back, and are ramping up their insulting, demeaning message a few notches. P&G’s campaign for the upcoming London Summer Olympics? “Thank you, Mom.” Excuse me? Only mom? Again? Really? How ’bout “Thank you, Mom and Dad.” Apparently not. As far as P&G is concerned, dads simply don’t exist.

Frankly, I’ve had enough. I’ve spent more than 15 years looking at—and critiquing—advertisers’  portrayals of fathers, and like most dads, I find that the majority of advertising is rather irrelevant to me. But there’s a difference between creating ads that are irrelevant and creating ads that completely deny that fathers exist. (Even Jif peanut butter, famous for their “Choosy Mothers Choose Jif” slogan, occasionally proclaims that “Choosy Mothers and Fathers Choose Jif.”) As a single dad, I do all the shopping for my family and I’ve spent a lot of money on P&G brands over the years. But as far as I’m concerned, P&G no longer exists. I’m taking my wallet elsewhere.

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