Filing for Divorce

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There are tactical advantages for the person who files first. The legal document that starts the proceeding is the Petition for Divorce, or the Complaint. It also covers certain technical matters and asks the court for anything you might want.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on something (e.g. support, visitation, property division, attorney’s fees, court costs, maiden name restored), then you must ask the court for it in the petition or the court cannot give it to you. If the list seems long or includes more than you think is appropriate, try to think of it as a wish list. If the wording seems strange, remember that it is a formal legal document and much of the wording is required by law. If your spouse has already filed, be sure that your lawyer has a copy of the petition as soon as possible.

The person who files first is the plaintiff or petitioner. The other person is the defendant or respondent, and that person must respond to your petition in a formal document known as an answer. The defendant may also want to complain that the plaintiff was at fault. To do so, the defendant files a Countercomplaint.

If possible, talk to your spouse about divorce before you file. It is hard to keep open lines of communication if your spouse has been surprised by the sheriff serving divorce papers on him or her at 4:00 A.M. (which is when the sheriff often serves papers).

If you are considering filing for divorce, speak with a Memphis family lawyer at Rice Divorce Law. Contact us at (901) 425-1274 today.

Reviews from People Who Have Been There

  • His integrity, preparation, and support made the best of a very sad situation. Highly competent, Intelligent and tenacious.

    “Nick Rice represented me in a 10 year divorce case that included 6 opposing attorneys, GAL, 2 special Masters, and TN Court of Appeals. ”

    Steve

  • They get results!

    “Larry is simply the best divorce lawyer in the business.”

    Robert L.

  • Results far beyond expectations.

    “Mr. Rice and his staff provided superlative knowledge and guidance.”

    Larry H.

  • They were so helpful and supportive in processing my documents in timely manner. It was a great experience.

    “I would like to extend my appreciation to all the staff of Rice, Amundsen and Caperton, PLLC.”

    M.T.

  • I hope I never need a attorney, but if I do, I will only call Larry Rice.

    “He understood my difficult situation and was concerned about me as a person and not a pay check, and gave me wonderful advice.”

    Tony N.