Divorce petition and name change

My STBX husband notified me that he will be filing a petition for divorce and serving me with papers. He left me on Oct. 1, 2010. We do not have a separation agreement. The only significant marital property that we have is two cars. Both of our names are on the titles and loans on the cars. We have agreed to transfer titles and refinance the cars to be owned solely by each respectively. However he has consistently not honored his agreements. He has an attorney. I cannot afford one.

  1. Should the transactions with the cars be done before the divorce petition is filed? How can I be sure that he will sign over the title to my car after I get it refinanced in my name only?
  2. I asked him to have the divorce petition state that I will have my name changed back to my maiden name. He told me to take care of that myself. Should I file the divorce petition myself? What is the best way to handle this?

Yes, you should draft a separation agreement if necessary to dispose of the cars. Then you can sign the cars over to each other and simply re-finance at that point.

You can file for the divorce and ask to resume your maiden name in your Complaint. Alternatively you can wait for him to file and then you will need to file an Answer and Counterclaim to his Complaint and request to resume your maiden name in that document. Or, you can choose to let the divorce happen and then contact the clerk in the county where the divorce was finalized and pay a $10 fee to change your name back.