A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is a type of court document that is used for initiating a divorce proceeding.  The petition lets one spouse inform the other that they seek a divorce or dissolution of the marriage. It also informs the courts of potential issues that might be a factor in the divorce proceedings, such as spousal support, child custody, and other factors. 

Petitions for dissolution of marriage are also called by other terms, such as “petition for divorce” or “divorce petition”.  They can sometimes be withdrawn if the couple later decides to postpone divorce or if they decide to be reconciled. 

What is Included in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

A petition for dissolution of marriage may include information such as:

  • Names and contact info of the parties involved
  • Similar information of any children affected by the proceedings
  • Information regarding financial support (alimony agreements) or child support
  • Child custody and visitation proposals
  • Preferences for property division (within allowed state guidelines)

In some instances, the party filing the petition may also state their reason for requesting a divorce.  However, this is not always required, especially in states that allow for no-fault divorce filings.  Contested divorce proceedings may have different requirements than non-contested proceedings. 

What are Some Other Considerations Regarding Petitions for Dissolution of Marriage?

One aspect to consider is that the petition for dissolution of marriage may have a strong impact on the way a judge initially reviews a divorce lawsuit.  Thus, it’s important that the party filing the petition clearly state their information and intentions in the petition.  Any mistakes, errors, or even deception may work against the person’s favor.

Also, you should be aware that divorce and family laws are very different from state to state.  Thus, if your spouse is located in a different state, or if you have recently changed residences, you may wish to check to see which laws will apply in your case. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage?

Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage generally requires the assistance of a qualified family lawyer.  You may wish to hire a lawyer for advice and representation if you need to file divorce papers or if you have any legal questions or concerns.  Your attorney can provide you with the guidance needed throughout the process.