Served with Divorce Papers: What Now?

Divorce proceedings officially begin when one spouse serves the other with divorce papers. Sometimes you know it’s coming and sometimes it’s a complete surprise, but either way being served can be a very emotional event. Nonetheless, it is important to get to work as soon as possible to begin protecting yourself for the future. Once you’ve taken a moment to gather yourself emotionally, these are the steps you will need to take:

1. Carefully review all the documents you were given.

Your spouse’s petition will include an abundance of information. So much it might be overwhelming. You will discover the timeline you’ll need to adhere to moving forward, as well as your deadline for your response. You’ll also be able to derive from the documentation whether or not your spouse has hired an attorney. The documents will most likely also outline your spouse’s proposed property division, support amount requests, and custody or visitation plan. Don’t worry — you will have a chance to assert your own requests.

2. Partner with an experienced family law attorney.

Even the most straightforward can be made more easy with help from an attorney. Whether you and your spouse agree on most things, or you’re anticipating a big battle, your attorney will help you understand your rights and protect yourself and your children. Don’t wait until things get stressful to hire a lawyer. The sooner you get a legal professional in your corner, the better your chances of a satisfying outcome.

3. Formulate and submit your response by the deadline.

If you miss the deadline for responding, your spouse may receive everything they requested and the divorce may be treated as uncontested. You will effectively forfeit your rights and legal arguments — not good! Your response needs to include a response to each individual numbered declaration. You might be feeling a lot of pressure, but your attorney can help you figure out your response and file it in a timely manner.

4. Protect your assets.

You will need to take measures to protect your assets from your spouse. Your lawyer can help you determine the proper steps to take. Keep in mind that you should NOT conceal your assets. Concealing assets is illegal and if you do that you can be charged with perjury. 

Contact Drucker & Mattia

At Drucker & Mattia, we have guided countless clients through the divorce process and into new lives of greater freedom and happiness. If you have questions about what to do when you’re served with divorce papers, or if you are interested in partnering with us, we invite you to contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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Drucker & Mattia PLLC

When you’re facing legal issues or pursuing a lawsuit, skilled legal counsel makes a big difference. At Drucker & Mattia, PLLC, we specialize in a wide range of legal areas to meet the needs of a diverse client base.

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