Divorce Petition: Here's What You Should Know About It

If you receive a divorce petition from your spouse, you may have many questions about how to answer it. A divorce petition is a document spouses can use to request the end of their marriage. The recipient of the petition must respond to the document within a certain time period. A divorce attorney can help you respond to the petition in a timely manner. Learn more about the petition and how an attorney can help you answer it below.

What's a Divorce Petition?

Before an individual divorces their spouse, they must file a petition, or complaint, with the family court. The person filing the petition is called a petitioner. The individual receiving the petition is called the respondent.

The petitioner must list a number of things on the petition, including:

  • why they wish to end their marriage
  • what they wish to keep or obtain from the marriage
  • when they wish to end their marriage
  • how they wish to maintain or share custody of any children born during the marriage

The individual receiving the complaint must file an answer, or response, to the items listed above. If you don't respond to the complaint properly, you risk losing custody of your children, funds in your financial accounts, and access to any homes or properties you own. You can keep these problems from happening by contacting a divorce attorney for help.

How Do You Respond to the Petition?

An attorney will need to know if the information filed by the petitioner is complete and accurate. If the property or assets belong to you instead of the divorcing spouse, an attorney must clarify this with the family court. You may need to provide backups of your financial information to an attorney during this step. 

An attorney will also go over each question in the petition with you. You want your responses to be accurate and forthcoming. Any discrepancies in your responses can harm your chances of maintaining custody of your children and control of your finances. If you don't understand some of the questions, an attorney can explain them to you.

In addition to submitting accurate and honest responses the petition, you must file the document within a certain time period. An attorney will generally submit the completed petition themselves to avoid any problems with family court. However, it may be necessary for a divorce lawyer to mail the documents in. 

Once the family court receives your response, they'll set a court date for you and your soon-to-be-former spouse. You can always keep track of the proceedings by consulting an attorney.

If you receive a divorce petition and need help completing it, contact a lawyer today.