How To Start The Divorce Process

Mar 06, 2019

I've helped thousands of people in my 20 years as a family law attorney get their divorce process started.  I've also helped them walk  through the divorce process. Although starting the divorce process from an emotional standpoint may be a difficult thing, from a practical standpoint, it's really not that hard.

The thing you need to do to start your divorce process is file something called a petition for dissolution of marriage.  In some jurisdictions it may be called a petition for divorce.  In your petition for dissolution you're going to be telling the other party and the court what it is you want to happen as a result of the divorce.

A broad outline of what you will be including in your petition for dissolution is you're  going to be making statements or proposals  about how you want to share children as far as custody and parenting time;  the division of property and assets and spousal maintenance or child support.

You need to check the laws of wherever you are to find out how much detail you need to put in your petition for dissolution.  Some states don't require as much detail.  For example, where I practice in Arizona it's a ? jurisdiction so you don't have to put specific details about who is going to what piece of property for example the other party is getting.   You  just have to put the other party on notice that things are an issue.

If you are the one filing for petition for dissolution then you will be called the petitioner throughout the process and the other party will be called the respondent.  Once you have your petition for dissolution filled out, then you need to take it to the clerk of the court wherever you are located and file it.

Often the clerk of the court has a charge they will assess to you in order to process your petition for dissolution.  There may be some cases where you can get those fees deferred if you are not in a position where you can file the initial fees.

Talk to the clerk at the court to see if you can get the fees waived or deferred until a later date.  There's a couple of ways that you can get your hands on a petition for dissolution.   In many places there are forms. self-help center, law library.  Another way to file petition for dissolution is to hire an attorney and have that person help you prepare the petition for dissolution and get it filed.

 Once you get the petition for dissolution filed, there's another step and that would be serving the respondent.  I will cover that  in a future video.


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