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What happens when a petition for divorce is filed?

It may come like a bolt out of the blue or it may be an expected relief. But either way, when you are presented with a petition for divorce, you will likely want to issue your response quickly and thoroughly. To do otherwise could jeopardize your ability to argue your side on important issues such as child custody and property division.

So how does the petition process work? Typically, one spouse will file a petition for divorce/dissolution with the court. The petition will then be issued to the other spouse, who is commonly referred to as the “defendant” or "respondent." Contained in the petition will be allegations to which the respondent can then answer.

If you are put in the position of being a respondent, you will need to acknowledge having received the petition, usually within three weeks. It will also be necessary for you to respond to any statements contained in the petition.

Petitions can come in the form of a court-provided pre-printed document. The document will have an overview of both spouses as well as the marriage. It may also put forth the petitioning spouse's stance on financial support, division of property and child custody.

The petition will also provide space for the respondent to make clear their answers to each of the petitioner's demands or statements.

If you should be on the receiving end of a petition for divorce, you will have reason to give careful consideration to the manner in which you respond to all allegations and requests contained in the document. Likewise, if you are preparing to carry out a divorce, what you choose to include in the petition is an important early step.

A Texas divorce attorney may prove of value in representing your long-term interests, whether you are on the issuing or receiving end of a divorce petition.

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