22 FREE Divorce Papers (Real and Fake)

22 FREE Divorce Papers (Real and Fake)

Divorces are hard because they don’t just alter your marital status; they affect other aspects of your life, including your social and financial standing. They are also physically and emotionally draining on both you, your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and kids. Sadly, recent stats show that around 50 percent of marriages in the US end in divorce, with the rate being higher for subsequent marriages.

While divorces are tough, they can be a necessary evil when you feel your happiness, health, or safety is threatened. Read on to learn how Divorce Papers (Real & Fake) play into the equation as well as why and how you should obtain and file them.

What Are Divorce Papers?

Divorce papers are collective legal documents prepared to request the termination of a marriage per state laws. They are usually approved by a court after one or both spouses express intent to end the marriage and file the necessary documents. Once the court reviews the papers, the couple must reach a divorce settlement that covers issues like spousal support and child custody. Divorce papers are issued when the court is satisfied with the settlement.

Usually, you can obtain divorce papers from the local court offices or download them online. The latter option is free but requires that you confirm the authenticity of the documents as many fake papers exist online. To be on the safe side, you should only obtain papers from official state sites.

History of Divorce Papers

Divorces were very rare before the 1970s, mostly because ending a marriage involved jumping through countless hoops. For starters, you could only file divorce papers if your partner had committed a crime, such as adultery. There were also no no-fault divorces, and you had to have a very strong, valid, and provable reason to dissolve a marriage.

When states passed no-fault divorces into law – these divorces don’t require evidence of fault – couples had an easier time of ending unions. Divorces, in turn, became more and more common. A spouse could simply state that the marriage was not working and be eligible for divorce.

Besides no-fault divorce laws, some social changes also played a big role in increasing divorce rates the world over. Movements like women empowerment saw more women joining the workforce, which forced society to redefine gender roles, causing strains in many marriages.

Divorce Papers (Real & Fake) Templates and Examples

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Annuity Divorce Form



Divorce Template Lawrence County





Petition for Divorce (Dissolution)



Simple Divorce Application


Uncontested, No Minor Children, No Real Property

    Types of Divorce Papers

    The outcome of the divorce is the same regardless of how you go about getting it: it ends your marriage. Nonetheless, there are several types of divorce papers you can file depending on the type of dissolution you want. Here are the top choices:

    1. Mediated Divorce

    A mediated divorce involves enlisting the help of a neutral mediator to help you and your spouse iron out the terms of the divorce. Both parties must be willing to cooperate for you to file these papers.

    2. Collaborative Divorce

    Collaborative divorces involve two lawyers or lawyer teams – one for each spouse. The lawyers meet their clients in private to discuss the terms then both sides negotiate the set conditions.

    3. No-Fault Divorce

    You can file no-fault divorce papers if you don’t wish to assign or prove fault. You can simply claim that you wish to end the marriage because of:

    • Irreconcilable differences.
    • Irremediable breakdown or
    • Incompatibility
    • No-fault divorces are the easiest to file and, as such, the most common.

    4. Summary Divorce

    A summary divorce is a simple option for spouses that wish to end their fast. It is a great option for people whose marriage is very recent and meets the following requirements:

    • It has lasted less than 5 years
    • The couple has no children
    • Both spouses are eligible for spousal support
    • The marital property does not exceed $35,000

    5. Uncontested Divorce

    Uncontested divorce papers are filed when the couple agrees on issues like child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support. This divorce is the easiest and most affordable as it does not involve any lawyers or court proceedings.

    How to File Divorce Papers (Without an Attorney: Step-by-Step)

    It is possible to get a divorce without hiring an attorney, otherwise called a pro se divorce. All you need to do is file the divorce paperwork with the court, attend the hearing, and present your case. Although it is not always advisable, it is a great option if your divorce is simple and you can’t afford legal fees. Below is a detailed guide for filing a divorce without an attorney:

    Step 1: Visit the Local Court Clerk’s Office

    If you cannot obtain divorce papers through your state’s website – or prefer not to – visit the court clerk’s office in your county and obtain the papers. Make sure to ask any questions you may have about the process and your state’s laws.

    Step 2: Get the Divorce Forms

    The court clerk’s office will give you the divorce forms you need to file. You can get them in person, via mail, or by downloading them from state websites. Usually, they contain empty fields where you must enter the necessary details. The documents vary from state to state, but the common ones include:

    • Financial Affidavit – Filed by both spouses to disclose their financial status.
    • Settlement Agreement – Filed if both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce.
    • Petition for Divorce – Filed to request a divorce from the court.
    • Notice of Hearing – Filed by the court to set a date for the hearing.
    • Summons – Issued by a sheriff’s deputy or police officer to your spouse informing them that you are filing for divorce, and they can respond.
    • Divorce Decree – Signed by the judge to legally grant a divorce.

    Step 3: File the Forms

    With the papers completed, the next step is to file them with the court clerk’s office, formally initiating your court petition. Besides the original papers, you might be required to file a given number of copies.

    Tip: Always check your state’s eligibility requirements with the clerk’s office. Most states require that the couple filing for divorce be a resident of the state for a specified period of time to qualify for divorce filing.

    Step 4: Pay the Filing Fees

    Lastly, pay the filing fees required by your state to process your divorce. The amount in most jurisdictions ranges from $100 to $300, but you can apply for a waiver if you can’t afford the fees.

    Common Reasons for Divorce

    As already mentioned, around 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. But why exactly do people decide to end their marriages? Here are some common reasons for divorce:

    Marrying Young

    Couples that get married young, such as in their teen years, are more likely to get a divorce than mature couples. This is because they are less equipped to deal with the challenges and changes that accompany a formal union, not to mention the stress of raising kids.

    Alcohol Abuse

    Alcohol and drug abuse are often cited by many couples as the reason they got a divorce. While people are growing more aware of the medical component of addiction, some couples can still find it difficult to deal with the erratic behavior and bad spending that comes with alcohol abuse.

    Low Education Levels

    People that didn’t finish high school or college often have a tougher time getting gainful employment. Low-income levels can cause a strain in a marriage, especially one with children.

    Religious and Cultural Differences

    Couples from different cultural and religious backgrounds have to navigate the many differences between them and their families, and this can sometimes lead to divorce.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I get a divorce for free?

    Most states have a fee waiver option for people who can’t afford divorce filing fees. To use it, you will need to file a waiver form along with your divorce papers explaining that you have limited finances.

    How much does it cost to file divorce papers in PA?

    The cost of filing divorce papers in Pennsylvania is about $300, but you may face additional costs of between $150 to $1,500 if you use online services.

    What are the five stages of a divorce?

    Divorces entail a legal and emotional process. In terms of the latter, you can expect to go through five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

    How do I get divorce papers in NY?

    You can obtain divorce papers for an uncontested divorce in New York from the Uncontested Divorce Packet on the New York Courts website. The packet also contains filing instructions.

    Can I get a divorce without my spouse knowing?

    Technically, no. You are required to serve divorce papers on your spouse to proceed with the court hearing. However, if they don’t sign the papers or appear in court, you could obtain a default judgment.

    What happens after divorce papers are filed?

    Once you file your divorce papers, the court will review them and set a hearing to discuss the settlement (terms for child support, property distribution, etc.).


    Nobody plans for a divorce because people don’t enter a marriage just to end it, which is why it can be trying. Still, when ending a union becomes necessary, understanding Divorce Papers (Real & Fake) will save you a lot of time and legal fees. Consider your options beforehand – contested/uncontested and with attorney/pro-se – then plan the proceedings around your schedule. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional if you get stuck or overwhelmed.