Here is the link to the Lincoln County Court where the Petition is mailed. Attached is a folder including the forms, which takes a long time to fill out. The easiest way to prepare the forms is online using this website. The cost is $249 which saves a great deal of time and aggravation. You can start entering information and then save your work and come back to it. Attached is the fee schedule which shows the costs of $314 filing fee, plus $30 presentation fee, plus $25 for certified copies, for a total of $608 plus postage both ways. This is incredibly cheap compared to spending tens of thousands of dollars litigating.
I only handle uncontested divorce by mail which requires an asset and debt spreadsheet. The spreadsheet formulas will automatically calculate the sum of assets and debts and the difference between the two parties. The difference should be close to zero except for property owned before marriage, inheritance received during marriage, and property acquired after separation. This spreadsheet will document that the parties have made a fair and equitable distribution of assets and debts.
Estate planning becomes highly relevant after divorce, so doing the two things together makes sense since the asset and debt information is identical for both, but it is easier to gather and less confrontational in the estate planning context.
Also, the process of having one lawyer represent both parties for estate planning means I cannot represent either party against each other ever. This encourages voluntary agreement because I lose two clients if you cannot agree on everything related to your divorce. This process works very well for certain people, but does not work for everyone.
There are many forms required for an uncontested divorce petition. You can download them below to see what is involved.
My philosophy is that trying to reach a resolution in the cheapest, fastest, least contentious way possible is best for many people and is a good place to start. You can always get counsel to represent you and only you. If you have MetLife legal insurance you can go to the MetLife website and look for family law attorneys. You should be able to find someone whose practice focus is consistent with that you need. It is important to have a good match between your goals and the lawyer best suited to help you achieve them.
Child support and parenting plans are an additional layer of complexity with their own sets of forms. I recommend addressing the property and debt issues and estate planning issues before attacking the child related issues.
The reasons are that there is a public policy against the trading of property and debt concessions in exchange for anything related to children. For example, child support is statutory and cannot be bargained in exchange for any other benefit to the parties because child support does not belong to the parties, it belongs to the children.
The other reason is that the child related issues tend to be the most difficult and by practicing communicating and coming to an agreement regarding property and debt issues and agreeing on the importance of estate planning for the protection of children, it makes agreement on child related issues more likely.
If divorce is ever something you are considering, the process of creating separate property trusts, postnuptial agreements, and proposed division of assets and debts can be helpful to reduce anxiety in marriage and also make an uncontested divorce more likely.