Unfortunately, even when a couple’s relationship is on the rocks, being served divorce papers can be shocking. Oftentimes, overwhelmed by their partner’s desire to end the marriage, individuals find themselves lost in what to do after being served divorce papers. If you have been served, you should retain a seasoned Rockland County Divorce & Separation Attorney who can help you navigate this complex process. Keep reading to learn what steps to take after receiving divorce papers.
What are divorce papers?
Regardless of the state a married couple resides in, those seeking a divorce must serve their partner divorce papers. Essentially, a divorce petition is a legal document that must be filed with the court. A divorce petition notifies the court of the petitioner’s desire to end the marriage, which in turn initiates the divorce process.
When you are first served divorce papers, the most important thing you can do is consult with and hire an attorney. After thoroughly reading the papers, it is critical to find appropriate legal representation. When divorcing there is a lot at stake including child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. Divorces are a complex legal process that can make it difficult to understand your rights and responsibilities. An attorney will help you respond to the divorce papers within the right timeframe and argue on your behalf to ensure you undergo a fair divorce.
Once you have acquired quality legal representation, you will be required to respond to the divorce papers. Essentially, you have a certain timeframe whereby you must file an answer with the court. Generally, you have 20 days to respond to your spouse once you have received the divorce papers. In some cases, if you fail to provide the court with an answer before the deadline, the court can grant your spouse a default judgment which can result in unfavorable terms. To ensure your partner does not receive a default judgment where they are granted all of their requests, it is vital to file your response within the right timeframe.
Once you have responded, it is critical to gather relevant documents such as financial statements, payroll information, tax records, and retirement information to have during your initial hearing. This will help you establish your income and financial status. From here, you should focus on protecting your hard-earned assets. If you share a joint bank account or your spouse is an authorized user, it is important to open a separate account and route future paychecks to ensure your finances are protected.
If you have been served divorce papers, it is in your immediate interest to hire one of our talented and knowledgeable team members. Our firm is prepared to help you reach the fair settlement you deserve.