Being served with divorce papers means that you have been formally informed with a notice that your spouse has filed for divorce action. Once you receive the papers, you should review them to assess the basis for the divorce and how long you have to respond to the papers.
The papers you are served with will usually detail the reasons for the divorce in accordance with state statutes.
Usually you will have 20 days from the date you were served the paper to file an answer. Your answer will inform the court on whether or not you agree or disagree with the action that your spouse wants the court to take.
If you agree with the request, a consent answer form should be filled out and filed with the court and you will proceed with an uncontested divorce. If you disagree, you can submit a contested answer and counterclaim form. A divorce that is contested will usually involve a lengthy court process.
Once you, the receiver of the papers, have filed a petition, the divorce process begins. You should immediately consult the help of a divorce attorney at The Sampair Group to ensure that your legal rights are being protected throughout the entire process.
Your attorney will help you file papers that present any arguments or defenses you may have. You can discuss at any length with your attorney how you should proceed to work out a settlement, including requests to review distribution of property and assets, alimony and child support issues.
If a mutual agreement cannot be made on these conditions, a trial may be necessary. At trial, both you and your spouse will have the chance to present each side of the argument, and you will both be required to provide evidence relating to the basis for the divorce and any other issues being presented.
If you are served with divorce papers and do not answer them, the court may think you do not want to participate in the case, and you will not be notified of a hearing, causing much trouble for yourself.
If you do not file an answer, your spouse will likely be unable to file for a no-fault divorce because both the husband and wife must sign an agreement that the divorce is being processed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, if your spouse can prove a fault ground for the divorce, they may still be able to go through with the process. All in all, not filing an answer means you are taking a big chance.
For more information on how to approach a situation where you are served with divorce papers, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group.