What to do if Served with Divorce Papers?
Being served with divorce papers is a scary and uncertain time. The situation is stressful, regardless of whether you were served by a sheriff while at work, or when you were at home with your children. No matter how it happens, if you have been served with divorce papers, you must know what to do next.
It is easy to become upset when being served with divorce papers, and maybe even take your emotions out on the sheriff or process server. This is a mistake. Remember that whoever serves you with the papers, they are just doing their job. Remain calm and respectful with them, as they may be used as a witness in your divorce proceeding. After the sheriff or process server leaves, review the package of paperwork and make sure that they are divorce papers and not other legal documents, such as a domestic violence injunction.
Read Through the Paperwork
Even before you speak with a divorce lawyer, you should read through the paperwork to ensure that you are not violating any orders. For example, if children are involved, a standing order may have been included in the paperwork and you need to know what it says. Read everything through, and then read it all again just to make sure you are not missing important information.
Take Proper Notes
As you read through the paperwork, you will likely have many notes you want to include. You may disagree with certain statements within the petition, or you may take issue with items in your spouse’s financial affidavit. It is important to take notes so you remember these important items, but do not mark on the petition or affidavit itself. Instead, take notes on a separate piece of paper or in a journal, which is also a valuable resource when going through a divorce.
Make Notes on Your Calendar
Read through the divorce papers to determine how much time you have to answer the petition. Typically, you only have 20 days to file your answer with the court, or your spouse may ask for a default judgment on your case. Also check through the entire package for any other important dates. If you do not find any, call the court clerk’s office and ask if there are any other hearing dates that were not included in your paperwork.
Call a Florida Family Lawyer
You can represent yourself during the divorce process, but it is always recommended to work with a Tampa family lawyer. At All Family Law Group, P.A., we know how upsetting it is to be served with divorce papers, but we also know how to protect your rights and negotiate with the other side to ensure you receive a fair settlement. If you have been served with divorce papers, you do not have to go through it alone. Call us today at (813) 672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you through this process.
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