Procedures for divorce by mutual consent

Updated April 17, 2017

Not every divorce must be a bitter, angry state of affairs. Some couples who are able to maintain a civil relationship elect to divorce by mutual consent. Check with your local court to determine the specific rules for this procedure that apply in your state.


The first step in all states is to file for divorce. Even in a mutually consensual situation, one party must file for divorce and have a divorce "complaint" served to the other party. The second party answers the complaint, typically agreeing to the divorce for whatever reasons were stated.


The second step is to schedule a court hearing. In a divorce of mutual consent, it is not expected that there will be a great deal of contesting at the hearing. If both parties are in agreement about the divorce and its terms, a judge is likely to grant dissolution of the marriage fairly quickly.


A way to speed up mutually consensual divorces even more is to craft a separation agreement with your spouse before you go to court. This agreement can include how assets and debts will be divided, how spousal support will be paid (or not) and the arrangement of the couple's shared business concerns.

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A professional writer for LexisNexis since 2008, Ilana Waters has created pages for websites such as and A writing scholarship helped her graduate summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work. She then obtained her Master of Social Work from Monmouth University.