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So you have been served with a divorce petition- now what?

If you have been served divorce papers, it can feel like the world is crashing down around you. It’s a significant life event that will change your life forever. In this blog post, we will explore what steps to take when divorce papers are served and how divorce attorneys can help with divorce proceedings.

Whether or not you have minor children, your divorce paperwork will include a divorce complaint, a summons, court orders, and other state-required forms. The divorce paperwork can include motions regarding asset sales, child custody, child support, and more.

Being served divorce papers is the start of the divorce process. Talk to a divorce lawyer or law firm that can explain this process. Divorce cases can be very complicated, and an experienced family law attorney can help.

what to do when served divorce papers

What is in a divorce petition?

A divorce complaint will usually include the following information: when you were married, the date of marriage, and specific general facts about why you’re getting divorced. A court summons is a form from the Court informing you that you are a party in this case, as well as the deadline for your response.

The paperwork you receive from the Court will be explicit about what is expected. You must pay attention and read every document carefully because additional requirements may exist, such as motions or orders that came at any time before your hearing date has been scheduled for execution ( enforcement ).

After You Get Your Divorce Papers, Follow These Next 5 Steps to Protect Your Future

Five essential things to do after you receive divorce papers. It would help if you made the right decisions in order not only to protect yourself but also to take care of your family and plan for joint custody or property division as well.

It can feel overwhelming when faced with having this type of legal proceeding thrown at one; however, there are a few “to-dos” that will put them on their proper path.

Read the divorce complaint and decide what to do

It’s always a good idea to read the divorce complaint when it arrives. After paying the divorce filing fee, you will be served divorce papers. The complaint tells you what the other party is asking for. It contains information on what your spouse wants in child custody, property distribution, and spousal support.

Don’t worry; this will only take a few minutes! Read through their demands carefully and note down whether they make sense to agree with or disagree on one side of an argument. You will use this information when preparing your answer.

what happens after you get served divorce papers

Know the filing deadlines that exist for every divorce case!

In Michigan, you have twenty-one days to file an answer if served in person, such as by a process server. If you are served by certified mail or are out of state, you will have twenty-eight days to file as an answer.

Good service can take many forms. You can accept service by signing the divorce petition. A process server can also serve you. It is essential not to neglect to file an answer after being served. Being properly served starts the clock on many deadlines.

If you miss the deadline to file an answer, you may be defaulted. If you are defaulted, your spouse may receive everything they ask!

If you miss the deadlines to file an answer, talk to an attorney about filing a late response. Courts will often grant such a request, but you may have to pay attorney fees or court costs for being late.

It’s essential to file an answer and counter-complaint with the Court!

Responding to your divorce papers is an important step. Filing an answer alerts the Court that you want to be involved in the divorce proceeding and provides your responses to the allegations made by the party filing the divorce.

In addition to the answer, you will also help you file a counterclaim. The divorce complaint that was served may outline some outstanding issues of your marriage and state how assets should be divided, whether alimony or spousal support is being requested, and how child custody and parenting time and child support should be awarded. A counter-complaint is your opportunity to make these requests to the Court!

The best way to defend yourself in a divorce is by filing your answer and serving the plaintiff!

It would help if you served your spouse with your divorce answer promptly. Be aware that you must legally serve them with your response. It is not considered legal to deliver papers personally, so do not try it.

Instead, when you submit the papers with the Court, speak to the court clerk about hiring the Sheriff’s department for service. A process server is also available to serve the other party. Attorneys can help explain how to effect legal service.

What to Do When Served with Divorce Papers

Please speak with a Divorce lawyer to help guide the process and make it less stressful!

When you get your divorce papers, the first thing that should happen is calling a law firm and speaking to an experienced divorce attorney. This will help ensure all legal rights and options are protected even if they believe there’s nothing unreasonable about them! 

Many law firms offer free initial consultations. An initial consultation will help you understand what is happening about deadlines and other legal matters that can arise in a divorce case.

A successful divorce lawyer knows how vital these things are, so don’t wait too long before seeking professional counsel. A divorce attorney can help you throughout the divorce process.

When will I have a court hearing after being served with divorce papers?

Initial hearings are usually scheduled 60 days after the answer is filed. Depending on the jurisdiction, these are typically called initial status conferences or pretrials. Additional court proceedings can be scheduled at these initial hearings, including the setting of a final hearing or trial.

These hearings provide an opportunity for both sides in the case to present their view of the case before a judge. The Judge will often order mediation to help the parties resolve their differences.

Can I Refuse Service if I do not want to be divorced?

Refusing service is almost always counterproductive and will likely hurt your case. Michigan and most states make it very easy for divorce papers to be served, so you won’t be able to avoid them forever- no matter how hard or far away from home the other parent lives!

The Court may allow your spouse to serve you through alternative methods, including mail or even publishing the summons in an official newspaper. You want to file an answer and have your position heard.

getting served divorce papers

A family lawyer can help you through the divorce process. Many divorce law firms offer free consultations for the legal services they offer. They will answer any questions and provide legal guidance to get the final judgment that you deserve in your favor!

Bruce law Firm provides Michigan legal help with family law matters in Monroe and Southeast Michigan.