Help! What Should You Do After Receiving Divorce Papers?

Divorce is a messy procedure for everyone involved. Naturally, you have several important things you must do once you have received the divorce papers. Unless you – or someone you know – has gone through the divorce process before, you may have no idea what you should be doing.

Discover the Due Date for Response

While it does vary slightly from one state to the next, you have roughly 30 days to respond to a divorce petition. If you do not respond within that time a default judgment can be made. The process will proceed and the judge will divide all of your property from the marriage equally. The divorce will be final, and there will be nothing you can do to change it.

It is important to keep in mind, every step of the divorce proceeding involves paperwork which must be responded to.

Read the Divorce Papers

The papers should be carefully read so you will understand where the court action was filed, especially if you are unaware of the spouse's location. The information will also be provided concerning whether the ex-spouse has hired an attorney. Some of the information included will be dedicated to the splitting up the property, support for you (the spouse) as well as issues relating to children if you have any within the marriage.

Legal Representation Must Be Decided

If your budget doesn't provide you with financial means to hire an attorney for the entire proceeding, you can hire one for specific tasks only such as filing the initial response and writing the divorce papers. A decision should be made as quickly as possible after you receive the divorce papers, so you can hire an attorney if you believe it would be in your best interests. However, if the ex-spouse has an attorney, you may feel more comfortable if you can also hire legal counsel.

Gather Documents

You should gather your social security card, birth certificate, and marriage certificate when you visit with the attorney on the first visit. You should also locate bank and credit card statements as well as taxes.

Revise Your Finances and Protect Your Assets

It is advisable to create an individual savings and checking account if you don't already have them. You also should consider a credit card in your name only. If your insurance plans including health and dental insurance benefits are provided by your spouse, you need to be sure you have all of that information. It is also essential to re-route your mail through the post office to ensure you receive all of your correspondence.

These are the basics you will need after you receive the divorce papers. Each case is different, including whether you need an attorney throughout the process. To learn more, contact an attorney like Gilbert P Kaback

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