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  • Writer's picturePeter Bissett

Joint Petitions: A Better Way to File for Divorce

We all can agree: first impressions matter. That's why beginning the divorce process by serving your spouse with documents that say you VERSUS them is a bad way to start if you are looking for an amicable, cooperative process. Luckily, we relatively recently got a new way to file and to make a better first impression. Enter: the Joint Petition.

Normally, when someone files for divorce, they become the "Plaintiff," and they are officially suing the "Defendant" (i.e. their spouse) for divorce. Thus, the process begins on an adversarial footing. Despite that combative first impression, spouses (and their attorneys) are then expected to switch to a cooperative tone and come to an agreement on all the issues and settle their case. What if you could start with the cooperation? With a Joint Petition for Consent Judgment of Divorce, you can.

With the Joint Petition, the spouses and their attorneys work together before anyone files a a case to reach an agreement on all the issues. Once an agreement is reached, one of the attorneys prepares a Consent Judgment of Divorce setting forth all the terms, and both spouses and both attorneys sign it. Then, instead of one spouse filing an adversarial divorce "Complaint" against the other, the attorneys file a Joint Petition that both spouses sign. The Joint Petition tells the Court that the spouses have already settled the case, there is no need for litigation or trial, and they just need a final court date to have the Judge sign off on their divorce. The Court date comes, and the spouses' divorce is finalized. It's as easy as that!

I have been using these Joint Petitions with a lot of my clients recently, and they have been very happy with the process and the results. It's faster, cheaper, and much less acrimonious. If you think a Joint Petition might be right for you and your spouse, feel free to call me for a free initial consultation: (248) 457-4566. Or email me at


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