Divorce is a difficult process that is made easier by understanding the basic pleadings in a divorce case and what they entail. The courts help ensure that you have the proper paperwork filed, and there is often a county clerk who will help guide you through the process. Pleadings vary depending on the state you live in and the details of your marriage, but having a general understanding of the basic pleadings can make the process easier for everyone involved.
The first pleading filed in a divorce case is the complaint, which is the request to dissolve the marriage. The person that files the complaint is considered the plaintiff in the case while the other person is the defendant. Depending on the state the divorce is being filed in, there are different grounds for divorce that are considered legitimate.
Answer or Counterclaim
The counterclaim is the pleading where the defendant responds to the complaint. In most states, if the defendant does not respond with a counterclaim, the divorce process continues on with the assumption that the defendant agreed to the terms of the complaint.
The financial affidavit contains the financial information of both parties to help determine all important financial matters in the divorce. Child support, alimony, division of assets and other important financial decisions are made by the judge with the use of the financial affidavit, so it is one of the most important pleadings of the divorce process.
There are numerous types of petitions in a divorce depending on the state the divorce is being filed in. Petitions are used as a way to communicate to the courts what is important to the parties involved while the divorce is being processed. There are petitions to maintain use of the family home or vehicle, petitions for temporary or permanent custody of children and petitions for visitation.
Judgment of Divorce
The divorce judgment is the final pleading in the case that contains the terms and agreements settled on during the divorce process. The judgment is the official document used as proof of the divorce.