If you have been served with divorce papers, then you need to take the situation seriously and make smart choices that will ensure your rights and best interests are protected. Whether you were expecting a divorce or not, how you respond to the divorce petition can severely impact the outcome of the case. Although dealing with divorce papers might seem overwhelming at first, following these steps can get one started on the right path.
Read the Entire Petition
Once you have received divorce papers from your spouse, do not ignore them! You need to closely review the document to figure out the deadline to respond to the petition. Additionally, divorce papers will inform you of the court where the action was filed, which is useful information if you are estranged from your spouse and the divorce is being filed out of state or in another county. The divorce papers will also list the grounds for divorce and whether the spouse is filing the paperwork on their own or if they have an attorney representing them. Understanding the significance of the information in the divorce papers is essential for building a strong legal strategy for your case.
Provide Your Response
After you determine the deadline, you will have to provide a response to each numbered statement in the divorce papers. You can file a counterclaim in which you allege grounds of your own for divorce and propose a different allocation of your assets and debts, or matters like child support, alimony, and child custody. Whether you have an attorney handle your response or draft one yourself, it needs to be done. Failing to respond to divorce papers can result in the court granting your ex-spouse all their requests for the division of property, child custody, child support, and alimony.
Consult with A Knowledgeable Lawyer
You should meet with a divorce lawyer within a week of getting the papers. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your situation, discuss your options, and determine the best way to ensure your legal interests are fully protected. An attorney can also simplify the divorce process by helping you manage important deadlines, mediate stressful communications, and advise how to properly communicate with your spouse regarding child custody, visitation rights, and parenting plan decisions.
Dreyer Law is here to help you with the entire divorce process. Call our office today to set up a free consultation.