What Is A Petition For Divorce And What Does My Attorney Need To Include In It?
The first and most important foundational step in any dissolution of marriage is to map out and prepare the petition for dissolution of marriage.
The petition for divorce is the main legal document that someone uses to file for divorce. The petition will contain all of the items which that person is seeking in the divorce and is extremely important because anything that is not requested in the petition cannot be granted by the divorce judge in the final judgment.
This means that if your Orlando divorce attorney forgets to put something important in your petition then you may lose your ability to ask the judge to award that item to you later in the case.
What needs to go into a petition for dissolution of marriage?
Some of the basic identifying information that must go into every petition includes the name of the parties, the county and other jurisdiction information where the case is being filed, the court case number which is assigned by the clerk of court, and the heading which identifies the document as a petition for divorce.
Next comes the different allegations that must be pled in the petition in order to allow the judge to make the findings that they need to under the law to Grant the divorce. These include a statement of the date that the parties were first married, the date of separation, the state where the parties were married, the statement that the filer has been a resident of the State of Florida for at least 6 months prior to the date of filing, and an allegation that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Without most of these foundational allegations, the court would not have the necessary information plead in order to grant the divorce.
Now that we have discussed the identifying items and the basic allegations that must be made we can move on to the specific allegations that relate to the individual facts of your case.
If your Orlando divorce involves children then you would include an allegation that included the children’s initials and month and year of birth as well as a statement of how you want the child custody to be determined. You would also include a paragraph stating how you would like parental responsibility to be addressed.
If your disillusion of marriage involves alimony, real estate, or retirement accounts and other such items then you would need paragraphs containing individual allegations for each of those.
Anytime a divorce lawyer is preparing a petition it is good practice to always include a paragraph stating that the client incurred of reasonable attorneys fees for preparing to petition and request reimbursement of those fees from the other party.
This is especially important for the lawyer who is representing the non-breadwinner spouse since the courts are liberal in awarding attorney’s fees where there is a disproportionately higher income for the other party.
Are there any other documents that my lawyer must include with my petition for divorce?
The petition is not the only document that must be filed when someone is going to file for divorce in Orlando Florida.
Some of the other items that must be included are a civil cover sheet, a financial affidavit and other financial discovery, a notice of social security number, a notice of related cases, notice of designation of email address, UCC JEA affidavit in cases involving children, affidavit of corroborating witness, or a copy of a Florida driver’s license with a issued date that is at least 6 months before the date of filing of the divorce.
Many counties have self-help centers inside the courthouse that can assist people in completing a petition for divorce if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent them. Though these programs can be very helpful, they typically lack the detailed strategic experience to listen to the facts of the case and to advise the litigant adequately regarding what should be pleaded and why.
For that reason, it is critically important for everyone seeking a divorce to get the help of a qualified divorce law firm in Orlando Florida.
Sean Smallwood is an Orlando divorce attorney for the law firm Sean Smallwood, Orlando Divorce & Family Law P.A. where he represents clients in all areas of family law and divorce. 100% of the practice is devoted to family law. As an attorney in Orlando, he has helped many families with a wide variety of family law cases including Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, and many other issues.