Divorce is a complicated process. For some couples, the process can last for years. For others, the process is completed soon after the papers are filed. However, despite all the uniqueness that a divorce can have, most divorces begin in the same way. One of the first steps required to begin the process of divorce is to serve divorce papers. Ensuring that papers are delivered is legally required.
If you’ve been served with divorce papers, it may have been a shock or it may have been expected. In either case, it’s a frightening situation, especially if there are children involved. You might worry that you’re about to lose custody of the children.
However, in some circumstances, it may be that only one spouse decides to file for divorce. In these instances, they must serve their spouse with divorce papers.
Bring served with divorce papers whether it has been discussed between you and your spouse or not, is a life-changing, soul-shaking experience. The person you thought you would spend your entire life with has just filed for divorce and seeks certain things from you as if the whole marriage was a business. Unfortunately, in the eyes of a divorce court, a married couple is essentially a legal entity by way of partnership and now, one or both of the partners to the entity want out and they have demands.
WS or written statement is respondent spouse’s reply to the main petition filed by the Petitioner spouse. Once the petition is served and summoned to attend the court hearing, the respondent is supposed to file WS within 90 days.
Read the entire complaint. Make sure the complaint is accurate. Make notes on items you do not agree with or agree to. If the items are minimal and can be worked out between you and your spouse, try to work it out and make an agreement. If you cannot make an agreement, consult and/or hire an attorney to litigate your case.
Now that you have your demands and/or have written down what you do not agree to, hire a lawyer for your case.
Answer the complaint as soon as possible. Do not leave it to the 85th day. Do not risk it. In addition, when you file the answer to the complaint about divorce, you should file any counterclaim for divorce at that time. If you do not file it when you file the answer to the complaint about divorce, you will not be able to file a counterclaim.
Begin thinking about what you are willing to agree to and what you are totally against. Reaching an agreement is important because it saves you time, money and stress. However, if it is not possible to settle, be prepared to be patient and be truthful with your attorney so that a real strategy can be planned out. This is not a simple kitchen remodeling job, this is the law, a mistake carries with it major consequences.
These are some things to think about when you’ve been served with divorce papers so that you can be sure your best interests are being taken care of. It is important to work with an attorney who is also patient and knows how to respond.
In conclusion, when being served with divorce papers, take a deep breath. Stay calm; do not react to your initial thoughts of anger and betrayal as those are seeds to your destruction in litigation. Take your time, but not too much time and contact a lawyer as soon as possible because your future is on the line.