In my Florida divorce case, what is a petition?
A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse known as the petitioner and served on the other spouse known as the respondent. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. It does not matter where the marriage occurred.
By serving the other party a summons and filing a petition, the divorce action starts. These documents prompt the court of the start of the divorce process and establish time lines. Each state has a different process. Most counties where the parties disagree on custody or parenting schedules, the Court will require mediation except in cases where domestic abuse is involved. Additionally, if children are involved, both parents must often attend a co-parenting class and often children over the age of 5 must attend a class on how to deal with parents involved in a divorce. A party may schedule a temporary hearing to determine what happens until the divorce is final. The court will determine who resides in the house, who pays what bills, who has temporary custody, child support, and maintenance issues on a temporary basis. However, if the parties cannot resolve their issues and the matter proceeds to trial, the trial date will not be set for a year or more.
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