Steps To Take After Being Served With Divorce Papers
Regardless of whether you knew your marriage was coming to an end, or divorce was a complete surprise, being served with divorce papers is never easy. You may become very emotional and be unsure of the next steps to take, even if you have considered the possibility of divorce. If you have been served, our Media divorce lawyer explains what to do next.
Even if you were expecting to be served with divorce papers, actually holding the documents in your hand forces you to face the situation and accept it. It is natural to become emotional, but it is critical that you remain calm. Remember that while divorce may be hard on you, it is also difficult for everyone in the family. Even if you are angry or frustrated with your spouse, try to remain calm and keep a cool head so you can proceed with the next steps.
Review the Paperwork Carefully
At the time of service, you may receive many different documents. The cover sheet contains basic information such as the name of your spouse, their attorney, and the court they filed the divorce papers with.
Among the different documents, you will also find the complaint filed by your spouse. In the complaint, your spouse will state their arguments, as well as what they want out of the divorce. For example, they may outline certain property they want to keep, or they may ask for primary custody of the children. Your spouse is not guaranteed to receive everything they have asked for, but it does tell you what your spouse is hoping to get in the divorce.
The divorce papers will also contain a notice to defend. The notice to defend allows you to answer the complaint and provides information about obtaining a lawyer to represent you. You are not required to respond to the complaint. However, if you do not, your spouse can move forward with the case without your involvement and that can result in unfavorable terms for you.
If you and your spouse have been separated for at least two years, the divorce papers may also contain an affidavit. This changes the time in which you need to respond to the complaint.
Just as you should respond to the divorce complaint, you should also appear in court if there is a hearing. Primary hearings are sometimes held, particularly after a long marriage, while in other cases they are not. A hearing may also only be necessary if your spouse has filed on the grounds of fault. If your spouse has filed on no-fault grounds, it may be possible to have the divorce finalized without ever going to court.
Call a Divorce Lawyer in Media
You are not required to work with a Media divorce lawyer when ending your marriage, but it is always highly recommended that you do. At Barbara Flum Stein & Associates, our experienced attorney can advise on what to do after being served with divorce papers, and help you obtain the fairest settlement possible. Call us now at 610-565-6100 or chat with us online to request a consultation and to get more information.