Filing a petition is the process through which most civil court cases begin. In order for a petition to be heard by a judge in court, a notice of summons must be properly served to the opposing party.
A petition can be either filed by the petitioner's attorney, or by the petitioner themselves if they plan to represent themselves as their own attorney (pro se) in court.
The filing fee for a petition depends on the case, but is typically $211 USD for family law matters. You may also have to pay a fee for service of process.
If you believe you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may be able to qualify for a fee waiver.