Being served divorce papers can be an overwhelming experience. While it may be tempting to procrastinate after receiving official news of an impending divorce, it’s imperative to take the proper steps as quickly as possible. The following are five things everyone should do as soon as they’ve been served divorce papers.
Understand Exactly What a Summons and a Complaint Is
Divorce papers normally include a summons and a complaint. A summons informs a defendant that they are being sued and that the court has the power to hear the case. These papers will explain to the defendant when court appearances are required. A complaint initiates the civil action and makes official the legal foundation for proceeding with the case. In addition to a summons and a complaint, a person may also be served with papers regarding temporary custody of any children.
Accept and Open the Papers Right Away
Ignoring the papers won’t make them go away. HG.org Legal Resources states the importance of checking the due date for the response. Those who receive divorce papers should open them immediately and be ready to respond with all the appropriate documents before the due date. The date should give an individual an adequate amount of time to carefully plan for any future court appearances. In many states, there are 20 to 30 days between the date the papers are served and the final date to respond.
Consult with an Attorney as Quickly as Possible
Since divorce laws can vary from state to state, it’s imperative to seek an experienced divorce and family law attorney as soon as possible. Several items will need to be accomplished, and a lawyer can facilitate the process. An attorney will be able to file an initial response to the petition, give legal advice on how to proceed with the case, write up divorce papers, and assist with court appearances.
Gather Copies of Financial Information
Find and make copies of all important financial documents. This can include everything from bank and retirement accounts to tax statements and credit card bills. Forbes points out that gathering financial information can be time-consuming. For those who aren’t very organized regarding their finances, it’s crucial to start gathering this information as soon as possible.
Put Together Records of Children
If there are children involved, it’s important to make copies of all documents regarding their care. These can include medical records as well as school and daycare records. It’s necessary to show you’ve been involved in the children’s lives if there is any custody dispute.
Once you’ve been served with divorce papers, it’s important to contact a qualified attorney as quickly as possible. Alison Grant has extensive knowledge and experience in a variety of legal areas, including family law. Contact Alison Grant Attorney at Law for more information regarding your specific case.