When you receive divorce papers, it can be difficult to process. It doesn’t matter if you know the divorce is coming or not. It is still a traumatic and heavy experience for couples to go through. Once you receive the papers, the divorce becomes real. It can be hard to pick up the pieces and know what to do next. Hopefully these steps can help guide you through the process and ease your mind a little.
Respond to the Notice
Once you receive the papers, read through the documents entirely. If there are any dates listed, make a note of them. You will be given a date that you need to respond by. Make sure that you mark the date down so that you won’t forget. Usually, you will have about three weeks to respond to the notice.
Some people mistakenly believe that if you do not respond then the divorce cannot take place. The court proceedings will continue without you. A lack of response only means that you do not want to be involved with the proceedings.
Contact an Attorney
When served with divorce papers, you do have the option to represent yourself. If you have no experience in divorce litigation, however, this could be a mistake. A divorce lawyer can help you keep track of any dates that you need and also any documents that you should have. He or she will be able to guide you through court appearances and help you to build a case if you need to defend yourself or if the divorce becomes hostile.
File a Response
You should file your response shortly after you receive the papers. Once filed, you will have a date to meet the judge. Normally, the point of this meeting is to see if you and your former spouse can settle the divorce amicably. If you and your spouse are in agreement about most issues, then you may not have to go through a lengthy court process. If you can’t agree on everything, this does not necessarily mean that you will go through trial. You could still choose mediation over a trial.
Even if you are expecting a divorce, it does not make the process easier. Divorce litigation can be complex and add more stress to an already emotionally charged situation. To help guide you through you’re the divorce process, contact a family lawyer, like a family lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols, as soon as possible.