Southern California Family Law Blog

What happens when both husband and wife file separate petitioners for dissolution of marriage? How do you determine whose petition for dissolution prevails?

The deciding factor, in determining which petition for dissolution prevails is who had the other party personally served first. To give you an example – Wife filed petition for dissolution of marriage two weeks ago, however has had been unsuccessful in personally serving husband with the petition for dissolution of marriage.

Since husband has not been served, he is unaware that wife has filed any documents. Husband, also wanting a divorce, then files a petition for dissolution of marriage. Husband hires a process server to serve wife the next day and was actually served with the documents. Wife filed first, however was never able to serve husband and husband served her first.

Therefore, husband’s petition for dissolution of marriage prevails and his case number will be the controlling case number. The only thing that could affect the case is which judge/commissioner the case was assigned to. In this case, the judge/commissioner assigned to husband’s case number is the presiding court officer over the entire matter. To rectify the situation, wife will have to file a response to husband’s petition for dissolution of marriage. The filing fee that she initially paid for her petition will be transferred to her response and no more fees will be required for her response.

To make sure that all technicalities of filing for legal separation or dissolution of marriage are met and carried out, it is important to hire an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney to represent you in the matter. An attorney will follow through and make sure that the other party was served in a timely manner.

Wallin & Klarich has more than 30 years of experience in family law. Our attorneys know from long experience what works in a divorce case, and are prepared to fight to get you the best possible outcome. With 16 attorneys in 33 offices throughout Southern California, we can be there when you need us — wherever you are. If you’re thinking of hiring an attorney for a mediated divorce, call us today at 1-888-749-7428 for a consultation, or fill out the online case evaluation form to the right.

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