The filing of a divorce/dissolution petition/complaint with the court is the first step of the divorce proceedings. This is then served on the spouse of the petitioner, notifying him or her that the divorce process has started.
While they vary from state to state, the petition/complaint usually contains the following information:
- The names and addresses of both spouses
- The date and location of the marriage
- The names of all children
- Acknowledgement that the petitioner and/or his or her spouse have lived in the state or county for a certain amount of time prior to filing the petition
- The grounds for divorce
- A statement or request of how the petitioner would like the issues of finances, property division, child custody, visitation, etc, to be settled.
Along with this information, the court may also request that the court establish temporary orders to govern family and financial issues during the course of the divorce process. If the court does, they remain in place until the divorce is concluded. Examples of these include:
- The spouse who retains primary physical custody of the child or children
- Visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- Payment of child support
- Which spouse resides in the couple’s primary residence
- Distribution of bills and other financial issues