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Circuit Court Family Division - Divorce with Minor Children

To start your divorce:

If both spouses agree to get divorced, even if you don't agree on the division of property or parental rights and responsibilities, you may wish to file a Joint Petition for Divorce, together with a Personal Data Sheet. Using a Joint Petition to begin the divorce process avoids the cost of formal service of legal papers.

Otherwise, if you want to file as an individual, you will file a Petition for Divorce, together with a Personal Data Sheet. Your spouse will need to be notified about this divorce. That notification will happen either by your spouse picking up the divorce papers at the court, or by you sending the papers by certified mail or through the sheriff.

Once the petition has been filed, gather the information and documents required under Rule 1.25-A.

 After a joint petition is filed, or after service of an individual petition, you will be scheduled for a First Appearance session. At this session, a judge or master will explain the court process and highlight important things to think about involving your children. You will hear about the Child Impact Seminar, parenting plans, mediation, and guardians ad litem, and child support. A date will be selected for the next step in your divorce, so please bring your calendar for scheduling purposes. See First Appearance and Mediation Forms for more information.

 To complete your divorce, you will need to file:

 If you need an order of the court before completing your divorce, you may request a temporary hearing on the divorce petition. You will need to file a Temporary Decree on Divorce or Legal Separation prior to the temporary hearing. Generally, a temporary hearing will not be scheduled until after First Appearance and mediation.

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