Dictionary.com’s second definition of “petition” is: “A request made for something desired, esp. a respectful or humble request, as to a superior or to one of those in authority; a supplication or prayer.” Fair enough. Some folks seek their freedom with the fervency of prayer.
Most lawsuits in Washington start with a complaint. But in a desire to make divorce less contentious, the Powers That Be morphed the bad ol’ Complaint into the kinder, gentler Petition. This is odd, because if you had nothing to complain about, you probably wouldn’t be getting dissolved, er, divorced.
WHY YOU NEED IT
The petition is the blueprint of the divorce. It lays out these practical details:
- Name and birthdate of you and your spouse.
- Names and ages of children, if any.
- Date and place of marriage.
- Date of separation.
- Why Washington state has jurisdiction over the marriage, the parties, and the children.
- Whether the wife is pregnant.
It also asks for more substantial information, such as:
- Maintenance (alimony)
- Child support
- Restraining order and/or protection order.
If you want, you can detail exactly what you want (such as who should pay which debts), but most people reserve these specifics for later – unless they have already agreed on these details.
The last section of the petition asks for what relief you request, including attorneys fees, income tax exemptions for the children, and changing the names of the wife and/or husband.
The one thing that all petitions have in common is the following statement: This marriage is irretrievably broken. It is one thing, at least, that you and your spouse might agree upon.
WHERE YOU GET IT
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
Check out the Petition.