Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Divorce Works

Additional Divorce Information

Divorce procedures are often complicated by a lack of communication between the two parties involved. Because the divorce process can be long and arduous, it’s important to have access to up-to-date information regarding the status of your divorce proceedings. The Internet can be a helpful tool because it allows you to access the court system’s database to see if your case has been filed yet. Because court records are public information, you can also call the court system to see if your case has already been filed.

When the lines of communication between you and your spouse have been completely severed, it’s often difficult to serve your ex with a divorce. Some states require your spouse’s mailing address in order for you to file, which can create a problem in certain situations. If you are no longer on speaking terms with them and have no idea where they live or what their phone number is, then their mailing address can be difficult to attain. If this situation does arise, other options can be made available to the filing party. Most jurisdictions will allow you to obtain service of the missing party by means of publication. This means that if you publish your missing ex’s name in the same general circulation that the court uses, you will be able to obtain service after a month or two. You would not, however, have every option available to you that you normally would, but you should at least be able to get a divorce.

Divorces that involve shared custody of children can also be very confusing. Physical custody and legal custody do not always go hand in hand and one or the other can be classified as joint, divided or split. Because there are so many variations on custody, it can become perplexing when it’s time to file your yearly taxes. If the divorce decree doesn’t explicitly name the parent who can claim the children, then that right goes to the parent who has physical custody of the child or children for the majority of the year. Of course, there are other dependency rules that must be met in order for that parent to be able to claim the children. The parent who has physical custody for the majority of the year has the right to pass the dependency exemption to his or her ex by means of Form 8332, but it is not required under any circumstance.

More to Explore