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There are usually two people involved in a divorce or the dissolution of marriage. The plaintiff is one husband or wife, and the defendant is the other spouse. But in a divorce, who is the plaintiff and exactly who is the defendant? Why is it important? Although difficult, as many individuals might assume the solution isn’t. In this article we will breakdown all about the plaintiff in a divorce. At Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd., we want to be certain that every one of our clients is aware of the roles involved in divorce as well as the advantages of filing for divorce first.

Who is the plaintiff in a divorce?

In a divorce, there are two parties: a Plaintiff as well as the Defendant.

  • Plaintiff – The plaintiff is the party who initiates the divorce proceedings by filing a petition for divorce.
  • Defendant – This represents the individual to whom the Plaintiff serves divorce papers after filing for divorce.


What are the responsibilities of the plaintiff in a divorce?

In a divorce case, the plaintiff is the party who initiates the legal proceedings by filing a complaint or petition with the court. The plaintiff’s responsibilities in a divorce can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. However, some common responsibilities include:

  1. Filing the Complaint or Petition: The plaintiff is responsible for initiating the divorce process by filing a formal legal document, often called a complaint or petition, with the appropriate court. This document outlines the grounds for divorce, and the relief or outcomes sought.
  2. Providing Grounds for Divorce: Depending on the jurisdiction, the plaintiff may need to state specific legal grounds for the divorce, such as adultery, irreconcilable differences, abandonment, or cruelty. It’s important to adhere to the legal requirements of the jurisdiction.
  3. Attending Court Hearings: The plaintiff is generally required to attend court hearings and proceedings related to the divorce case. These hearings may address temporary orders, child custody arrangements, or the final divorce decree.
  4. Participating in Discovery: The plaintiff and the defendant may be involved in the discovery process. Discovery involves exchanging relevant information and documents related to the case. That can include financial records, property valuations, and other pertinent details.
  5. Negotiating or Mediating: In many cases, divorcing parties are encouraged to negotiate or mediate to reach agreements on issues like property division, spousal support, and child custody. The plaintiff actively participates in these negotiations to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution.
  6. Complying with Court Orders: The plaintiff must comply with court orders issued throughout the divorce process. It includes adhering to temporary orders, attending mediation sessions, and following any directives from the court.

It’s important to note that divorce laws and procedures can vary, so individuals should seek legal advice from an attorney to understand their rights and responsibilities. If you have problems or issues with your divorce, Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd. is the name you can rely on if you need an attorney.


What differentiates the Plaintiff from the Defendant in a Divorce?

Nearly all civil actions employ these terms; plaintiff and defendant. The person who starts the divorce process is known legally as the plaintiff. Typically, one spouse will petition for divorce whenever a marriage ends. Not that the other member of the family is unaware of what is happening—quite the contrary. The divorce may even be something mutually decided on during the time of filing, which is not unusual. However, every husband and wife must pursue the legal process to dissolve their marriage in order to obtain a divorce.

Since a Petition of Divorce must be filed in order to initiate a divorce, the plaintiff in a divorce case might also be described as the petitioner. By submitting this form of affidavit, you formally request that the marriage issue be dissolved in front of the judge and the other spouse.

After the plaintiff applies for divorce, the defendant becomes the one who receives the divorce papers. The defendant is also referred to as the respondent when responding to the divorce petition.

The phrases “Petitioner” and “Respondent” are more prevalent in the state of Nevada.


Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

It usually makes little difference whether both spouses serve the divorce summons. Because either your wife or husband filed, the court will not grant more or less. The differences are because you filed first, you are not immediately seen in the courts as the victim or the other spouse who was wronged or at fault. The costs of filing and serving your husband or wife will be your responsibility, but aside from a few small variations along the road, the court costs won’t differ significantly.

If both you and your divorced spouse live in different counties, the one who files first may be able to select the county, though even this rule may contain a few exceptions depending on where your children primarily reside. Another benefit of filing first was that if retirement accounts or assets are appraised at the time the divorce summons is filed or, in effect, it prevents their future buildup. There are several exceptions to the general rule that some other assets, for instance a corporation, are assessed based on the filing date.

Filing for divorce

When a husband or wife files for a divorce, for example, several people are entirely unprepared, while others are usually prepared. Even in the best-case scenario, the divorce process can be psychologically, physically, emotionally, and financially demanding. This is why it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can assist you in getting the divorce process off to the right start by ensuring that all documentation is completed accurately and everything is in place for the start of the proceedings.

Starting the procedure

If you are the divorce plaintiff, you must submit an Original Petition to Divorce as your first legal action. This explains your desire for a divorce as well as includes your demands. You can get assistance from your lawyer with this to make sure nothing is missed.

Before bringing the documentation to the District Clerk’s office in a court house in the jurisdiction where you or your family have resided for the past 90 days, you should make several copies of it. This phase typically has a filing fee of $300.

Affidavits for Inability to Pay, that require you to inform the court of your financial condition, may be used to request a fee waiver if you are not able to pay your filing fee.

The clerk will give your Original Divorce Petition a number as well as a court orders once you’ve filed it.

Causes of Divorce

There have been seven possibilities when it comes to the reasons for the divorce or the cause you’re filing, you may also refer to NRS 125.010 to know more. They consist of:

  1. Insufficiency
  2. A minimum of three years of living apart
  3. Reclusion for at least three years in a mental health facility
  4. Violence
  5. Ignorance for a minimum of a year.
  6. Adultery
  7. Getting a felony conviction

When you submit your petition for divorce, you must select a grounds which is stated also in NRS 125.030. Your lawyer can assist you to breakdown your options and decide which one will work best suits your needs.

Legal Notice

You will get two copies of divorce papers when you file. You will receive one copy, and your spouse will receive the other. As soon as you file for divorce, you must provide your husband or wife with legal notice. This implies that your partner must receive an stamped version of the divorce documents through one of the approaches listed below:

1. Hire a constable or official process server to deliver the document to your spouses. You will obtain an Return of Service after being served, which is also recorded with the clerk as evidence or proof that your spouse actually received the document.

2. Before public notary, sign a release of service. In order to inform the court that they have received your documents, your spouse may sign an waiver form for service in the presence of a notary if they would like not to have a formal process server serve them.

3. The Respondent files an answer through your spouse. This demonstrates that the other spouse is actively taking part in the separation. But the answer makes no accusations against the plaintiff. If the defendant disagrees with the allegations in the Original Petition for Divorce, they must do so by filing an Counter Petition for Divorce.

When selecting whether an approach is preferable, it is indeed a good way or idea to consult your family law attorney. The solution might be different if your wife or husband is aware that you’re requesting a divorce and if you and your spouse are on amicable terms, as opposed to if your spouse is unaware of the divorce filing or if both spouses are not on amicable terms.

Divorces: Contested or Uncontested

Your spouse’s answer will either state everything that they concur with the divorce conditions set forth in the initial petition for separation or that they disagree with the form of conditions. If both parties concur, their divorce is uncontested. It’s a contested divorce if they are unable to come to a decision on an agreement. The price of a divorce varies depending on whether it is contested or not. This is why it’s important to consider fairness when submitting your initial complaint or divorce petition. For better understanding on your complaint or petition refer to this NRS 125.020.

Both spouses concerned would likely prefer an uncontested divorce. In this way, it indicates that the conditions of your divorce were reached by cooperation between husband and wife. This could indicate that you came to an agreement prior to filing or that you used mediation to reach an understanding. There is no requirement for any formal trial because you have already come to that understanding. A family court judge may approve your settlement agreement once both parties concur that it is a fair divorce settlement, unless they believe it is unjust to one party or the other. Uncontested divorces save a great deal of time and money.

When both you and the spouse struggle to come to an agreement, a contested divorce happens. If both parties are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to attend a court hearing in which the judge will resolve your case in front of an jury. An contested divorce will cost far more money, take considerably longer, and need significantly more paperwork. Additionally, the judge can make decisions that neither party is satisfied with. Attorneys for divorce advocate mediation because of this. You have more power over the terms of your divorce settlement when you choose mediation.


Making a Decision

You can choose how to move forward now that you are familiar with the fundamentals of the divorce process. Nevada  offers free online divorce forms if both parties decide to divorce amicably right away. However, because of their complexity, you might require an attorney’s help to appropriately fill out these documents.

You may also choose a minimal DIY as well as online divorce when both spouses agree. You’ll complete the forms after an online interview. Again, for some people, this can be intimidating, so you might be better off getting legal advice.

It is recommended to employ a lawyer if you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, whether your divorce is in complicated situations cause by small children you love, a property held by either or both of your spouses, and perhaps a joint business venture. To protect their rights as well as the common good of any connected children they love, both spouses must have a separate attorney. Your attorneys will probably advise mediation.


With the aid of an impartial third party as well as your lawyers, you can negotiate sensitive issues like alimony and property during mediation. In general, mediation is much less expensive than a trial, and it allows both you and your spouse to reach a compromise instead of leaving everything up to the court.

Husband and wife may resolve key issues such as community property, also referred to as  separate property, marital property,  marital debt, child custody, spousal support, and child support through mediation. To enable you and your husband to come to a settlement you are both happy with throughout mediation, you must be able to compromise.

Additionally, this is when

Divorce Finalization

When both parties can reach an way of agreement, you will both sign the final divorce cases decree. The judge is then shown this document and asked to sign it. Your divorce would be legally finalized once the judge signs it after it is approved.

If you can’t come to an agreement, the judge will make the judgment at the court case proceeding, which you’ll be legally required to abide by.

You Can Avoid Going Through a Divorce Alone

It is a critical way to keep in mind that you are not need to deal and everything is under control through the divorce process. When it comes to your welfare, a skilled and experienced divorce attorney can significantly vary. They have an ability to guide you through the mediation process and make sure your rights are upheld, in addition to assisting you with all of the types of complicated paperwork. Although some people avoid hiring divorce lawyers due to the reason of high costs, most people are glad they chose to side and work with a professional to help them through the trying period.

Speak with the knowledgeable staff at Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd. if you’re thinking about going through a divorce or if your partner has already taken divorce action. We are here to protect your rights and make sure that both you (the wife) and your husband come to an equitable divorce agreements. In order to make sure you are always informed about all of the available options or situation while you through the divorce process, we also offer legal counsel and guidance all along the route.

If you want to know more details and information on how Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd. will help you regarding your divorce complaint or any other option regarding divorce, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us or call us on (702) 474-0500.


For more information on how can help you on your Divorce filing, please contact us at (702) 474-0500, or visit us here:

Donn W. Prokopius, Chtd.

6655 West Sahara avenue
Suite D220 (Building D)
Las Vegas, NV 89146

(702) 474-0500

Divorce Lawyer Las Vegas