Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Divorce Petition


Divorce petition, also called as “original petition for divorce” is an important document for filing divorce. In some states, it is also called as “letter of complaint”. The process of divorce starts when you file the petition. It is filed with the court’s clerk, requesting the court for granting divorce. The petition form identifies the spouses and children they have. The person filing the petition must state the reason for divorce.

The person filing the petition is called “petitioner” and the other spouse is called as “respondent”. It is the duty of the petitioner to serve the petition form to the respondent stating that request for divorce is filed in the court. Usually, a member of local sheriff serves the petition to the respondent on behalf of the petitioner.

Divorce petition can be filed on both fault and no-fault ground. To file the petition on no-fault basis, you have to mention “irreconcilable differences” to the court. For filing divorce on fault based issues like adultery cruelty, impotency, transmission of sexual disease, imprisonment, and mental health problem or drug addiction, they should be proven. Note that when you decide to file for no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must be living separately for six months or more. Filing for divorce petition is the first step to end the marriage. As the state differs, laws of that state also vary. However, in most of the states, filing the petition for divorce is almost the same. Filing for divorce is a legal process, so it is advisable to hire a lawyer who can help you with this. If issues of children are involved, make sure you hire a family counselor.

  • Get separated from your spouse legally before filing the divorce for more than six months. This separation means you should not share a bedroom or have sexual relation during this time. If you can prove the spousal misconduct like adultery or mental abuse, legal separation is not necessary.
  • Find the court in the county where you and your spouse reside. You can get this information from your city’s government website. Check the superior court where you can file for the divorce petition as most of the state’s family division of superior court deals with divorce processes.
  • Contact the court to determine the necessary things you should take care prior to filing the petition. Many states require the residential requirement of six months or more. Enquire about the necessary paperwork that you need to file with the petition. You may require marriage certificate, proof stating the grounds on which divorce was filed, financial information, etc.
  • Understand whether your divorce is uncontested or contested. Contested divorce means parties disagreeing on the issues must be present along with the legal paperwork and should attend the hearing as scheduled.
  • Make the list of temporary decisions made on the issues of alimony, child custody, child support or visitation and other financial concerns like property and debt. The decisions made on these issues will remain same till divorce is finalized.

Visit the family court with all the necessary paperwork. Ask the county’s clerk for the details of filing divorce petition; the clerk will direct you to the current location within the court to file the paperwork. You will also have to pay the filing fees that can be $100 or more.

Here are some more articles that will give information on the process of filing a divorce petition of various countries and states:


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