By: Stephen J. Plog
As a Denver divorce lawyer, I regularly meet with people in need of help with their family law cases. With each meeting, I have to be conscious of each person’s level of awareness when discussing the legal aspects of their case. After almost twenty years of practicing family law, it’s easy to forget that to the person going through their first introduction to the world of divorce, the common phrases that attorneys use may sound like complete gibberish unless explained. The soup of divorce related terms which might cause confusion for the person going through divorce for the first time is no more intelligible than if I were talking to a computer technician or mechanic about the specific parts of a computer’s CPU or the specifics of how a to rebuild a car engine. Below I will list some of the common terms one might hear when going through a divorce, with the intent of educating so as to help readers make sense of some of the words they might hear, yet not fully understand.
Petition: A petition is the initial document filed in a divorce case. It lets the court know a brand new case is being started. For divorce, the petition is called a “petition for dissolution of marriage.” In a custody case it would be called a “petition for allocation of parental responsibilities.” Petitions must be personally served upon the other party, along with a “summons.” Once petition and summons are personally served, the court has jurisdiction over the second party to the case. Continue reading