This blog is the first in a series covering the Divorce Process. Specifically, this blog looks at the Divorce Complaint; the various types, and what is included in the Complaint. If you are looking for a divorce attorney in Williamsburg, York County, or New Kent County, and you are considering filing a Complaint for Divorce, please contact my office and schedule a free consultation.
Many times a Divorce commences with the filing of a Complaint. There are certain statutory requirements that a complaint must meet. If the complaint does not meet these very specific and necessary requirements it can either be rejected/dismissed by the Court, or the opposing party may file a demurrer and have the complaint dismissed. A few of the requirements include the names and addresses (if known) of the parties, that both parties are of the age of majority and can be sued, and also that the court has both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over the parties. There are also requirements when one party is a member of the Armed Services.
The Complaint must make specific factual statements that are the basis for divorce. If the basis is adultery, cruelty, or other fault based grounds, the filing party must allege the facts that give rise to the fault in the complaint. If a party fails to allege these facts, they may request to amend the complaint later, but maybe barred from doing so. It is best to make all well-grounded allegations in the initial complaint to avoid losing it later. This includes when making the prayer for relief.
The Complaint must also make a specific prayer for relief. This tells the Court what type of outcome the filing party is requesting. This may simply be a request to be divorced, but often it includes an award of spousal support, child support, physical custody of the children, attorney’s fees, and equitable distribution of the marital assets. Like the factual basis for the divorce, if prayers for relief are left absent the filing party may be barred from amending the complaint at a later time.
The Complaint is only the first step in the process of divorce. However, it is important that the complaint have all of the necessary requirements regarding the parties, the basis for the divorce, and the relief requested. If you are looking for a divorce attorney in Williamsburg, York County, or New Kent County, please contact my office and schedule a free consultation.