Even though a marriage has turned sour and started to unravel, it can still come as a shock when divorce papers are served. Getting an official document issued from the court with your name on it under the title, “Original Petition for Divorce” makes it a reality. Now what?
Original Petition for Divorce
If your spouse has filed for divorce, you will receive an Original Petition for Divorce. You are the respondent to the petition, and while it may be an unexpected turn of events, you should act immediately to protect yourself from having any default judgments taken against you. Taking a few days to get your emotions together and reaching out to family or another support system is expected, but it is recommended that you decide on how to proceed within one week.
Answer the petition
Some may think that if they don’t cooperate with the process that the divorce won’t proceed. This is not the case, and refusal to respond may result in a final divorce without representing your interests. There is often a due date for the response, and it should not be ignored. The respondent typically has around 30 days to file an “answer” to the petition and make an appearance in the divorce proceedings. If you fail to do so, your spouse may go forward in a default hearing where your ex-spouse is granted everything they request, including asset division and child custody arrangements.
Hire an Attorney
In order to prevent your ex-spouse from winning a default judgment, not only should you respond right away, but you should also be proactive in defending your rights. Hiring an attorney to help you ensure your interests are protected is an important step. An attorney can file all of the appropriate paperwork and save time and money through the process. An attorney can also advise you on how to protect your finances until the divorce proceedings finalized.
Call A Tempe Family Law Attorney Today
Navigating through divorce proceedings within the confines of the law is important. Arrange a free consultation by calling The Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack at 480-345-2652 or using our online contact form.