Cash Flow Planning for Life - Helping you reach your personal & professional financial goals.

Cash Flow Planning for Life

Helping you reach your personal & professional financial goals.

divorce petition

This is the third installment of “Divorce. What You Need to Think About from a Financial Perspective”, which can be downloaded for FREE from

Filing the Petition

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the first document filed with the clerk of the court in your county, which starts the divorce case. It basically formally asks the court to end your marriage. In the petition, you will have to plead all of the facts required by your state’s law in order to entitle you to the outcome you are seeking.

In most states, you will have to include when and where you were married, how long you have resided in the state, information about your children, and may have to include grounds for which you seek a divorce. (In Florida, you are only required to state that your marriage is “irretrievably broken”, which is considered grounds for divorce.) Residency requirements and grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

The steps you will take in a divorce case depends on whether you are the “petitioner” or the “respondent”.

The petitioner is the person who initially files the lawsuit asking for a divorce. To give notice, the petitioner must serve the respondent with a copy of the lawsuit, in a manner determined by the state law. You typically cannot serve notice to someone else yourself. Service of the summons and petition must be made either by the sheriff of the county or by a special private process server who is registered in the state.

The respondent is the other spouse who is presented with a request for divorce, and must answer the lawsuit.


Once a respondent is served with the summons and petition, they have a certain amount of time to file a response. This is usually twenty or thirty days. It is extremely important to file a response in the time frame that is given, or you could be found in default by the court. This means you may not be allowed to file pleadings in the case at all, and the petitioner may be automatically awarded whatever he or she asked for in the petition.

If you don’t feel like waiting for the next blog post you can download the FREE eBook from our eBook library. If you have further questions please contact me online or call (239) 384-9688 in Naples or (239) 768-5008 in Fort Myers.


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