How Should I Respond to the Allegations in My Spouse's Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

Going through the divorce process can be one of the most stressful events in a person's life. Often times, when one spouse is served with a divorce action and reviews their spouse's petition for dissolution of marriage, it is hard for them to believe that a divorce can end in an amicable fashion. A great deal of stress can be alleviated however, by understanding the impact of the allegations contained in a petition for dissolution of marriage.

A petition for dissolution of marriage is the pleading that begins a divorce action. Throughout the petition a party frames the issues of the divorce and notes the relief they are seeking from the court. The issues and remedies may include areas concerning child custody, the division of assets and debts, alimony, an attorney fees request, and other demands.

In many instances parties are caught off guard when they review their spouse's petition. The petition can contradict prior understandings between the parties and the review of demands can be very difficult. This contradiction can lead to increased stress levels and even worse, may lead to unnecessary and costly litigation.

It is important to note that, in general, many petitions are boiler plate pleadings, which plead or request general and all-inclusive demands. A general and all-inclusive petition provides protection for a party, as it reserves the right to bring future claims, even if they are not at issue in the beginning of the divorce. Similarly, it is important to remember that the petition is just a request from the court and has no bearing on what the actual facts or evidence will establish. In a great majority of divorce cases, a party does not advance all demands made in their petition and a settlement can be reached.

By working with your Tampa divorce attorney to understand not only the legal impact of the demands made in a petition, but their particle effect, a party can avoid beginning the divorce in a stressful state.