Types of Petitions You Can File in Court

Petitions are formal requests filed in a court.
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Making a written formal request to change a situation is known as filing a petition. In the court system, petitions are filed at the local, state and federal level. A valid petition has a petitioner and a respondent. The type of petition filed depends on the needs and circumstances of the petitioner.

Peace and Protective Petitions

Civil court will issue a peace or protective order to prevent certain acts from being committed against a person. The type of petition filed depends on the relationship between the victim and the person who is committing the prohibited act. Protective petitions are for people involved in domestic relationships. The relationship between spouses and siblings are considered domestic relationships. Peace petitions are filed for all other types relationships. Relations between strangers, neighbors and co-workers are considered non-domestic relationships. Depending on your state, protective order petitions are obtained from the circuit court clerk, district court clerks or the District Court Commissioner.

Support Petitions

Children living with separated parents are required to be supported by both parents. The non-custodial parent is required to pay child support. To initiate a child support order, the custodial parent must first file a petition for support with the Family Court. The petition must be served to the respondent with a summons indicating the date of the court hearing. A married person can file a petition for spousal support against their spouse. A divorced person may not seek a new order for support, but an existing order can be modified after the divorce is granted. The petition and summons must be served to the respondent.

Read More: Petition Requirements


Voluntary bankruptcy petitions are filed by a debtor to begin a bankruptcy case. It is used by individuals and entities to declare bankruptcy. Filing the petition stops creditors from collecting debts. The petition provides the court with basic knowledge about the debtor. The basic information includes the creditor information and the debtors income.

Emergency Guardianship

A petition for emergency guardianship is filed with the court when a person’s health or life is at an immediate risk. The petition must have the name, address and birth date of the alleged disabled person and the factors surrounding the alleged disability. Verification that an emergency guardian intervention is needed must also be submitted. The petitioner must explain any efforts to obtain the alleged disabled person’s consent. Each individual state will decide on the duration of the emergency guardianship. For example a person refusing to leave their unheated home during severe cold weather may be assigned an emergency guardian.

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