You must wait at least 90 days after your divorce action starts (Return Date) to get a judgment of divorce. The Return Date is on the Summons and the waiting period generally ends on the Case Management Date in the Notice of Automatic Court Orders.
During the waiting period, you should try to reach an agreement with your spouse on the financial issues and issues about your children. A private mediator or a family relations counselor from the Judicial Branch’s CSSD Family Services Office may be able to help you reach an agreement. If you reach an agreement use the Dissolution Agreement (JD-FM-172) form.
During the waiting period, you should also fill out and file a Case Management Agreement/Order (JD-FM-163). If you and your spouse agree on the issues, or if your spouse has not filed an Appearance, your case is called “uncontested.” You may choose a date for an uncontested divorce hearing and write it on the Case Management Agreement form, Section II. To choose a date for your hearing, check with the court clerk or the family caseflow coordinator. In some court locations, you may get a final divorce hearing on your case management date, if your case is uncontested.
If you are the plaintiff, you will get a docket number for your case in the mail, about 2 weeks after filing the Complaint. Both the plaintiff and the defendant must use the docket number on all legal papers filed with the court.
TIP: Remember, you are bound by the Automatic Court Orders when you sign the Complaint if you are the plaintiff; and when you are served with the Summons and Complaint if you are the defendant.