The person in California who files a lawsuit in court is considered the plaintiff. In divorce cases, another term used is “petitioner,” because this person files the petition to kick off the divorce. The plaintiff is tasked with filing the paperwork in the appropriate court and serving notice on the defendant so that he or she can respond to the allegations. California has detailed service of process rules. For example, you cannot simply hand your spouse a copy of the divorce petition. Any failure to follow the correct rules of service can result in a case being tossed out of court.
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