Filing for divorce is an emotional process for many people, but it's also a legal one governed by strict procedural requirements.
For many filers who are unfamiliar with how the legal system operates, the requirements of the divorce court can add stress and uncertainty. Depending on where you live, you may be required to wait weeks or months between each step in the divorce process. The thought of appearing before a judge and explaining your side of the story may be especially intimidating.
The good news is that the legal requirements of getting a divorce can be handled by a divorce attorney. A local attorney can explain just what to expect while you're waiting for your divorce, and deal with the complex paperwork so you don't have to.
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A divorce petition may be more complicated than the average person expects, since it covers issues like the court jurisdiction where the petition is filed.
Jurisdiction generally depends on the state and county in which one or both of the divorcing parties lives, but different states have different residency requirements to divorce.
In many states, there is a minimum period of residence within the state - and perhaps within the county - before the divorce court has jurisdiction to hear a divorce case.
A local divorce attorney can prepare the divorce petition and a motion for temporary orders. When the divorce petition is filed with the court, you are officially beginning the divorce process.
The divorce petition must be prepared according to specific statutory requirements and must contain specific allegations about the marriage of the parties, residence of each party, children of the marriage and more.
The divorce petition must be served on your spouse. Service of process requirements in divorce cases differ from state to state. Some jurisdictions may require service via the Sheriff's department or a private process server, while others may allow for service by certified mail or personal service. If your spouse cannot be located, service may take place by public notice in a newspaper.
As with any civil lawsuit, the respondent has the opportunity to answer the petition to dispute or deny claims made in the divorce petition. The respondent needs to answer the divorce petition but may also file a cross-petition, making his or her own allegations and requests.
Learn more about filing for divorce by speaking with a local divorce lawyer about preparing and serving the divorce petition. A divorce lawyer can also explain the impact your actions and decisions may have on your divorce case, which may help you prevent making costly mistakes. Find a divorce lawyer near you by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out the divorce case review form below.