Not every divorce case involves couples who mutually agree to end their marriage. Often, one party is aware of problems in the relationship but is caught off guard when they are suddenly served with a divorce petition. Having those papers in your hand can be emotionally overwhelming, and often, you aren’t quite sure what to do next.
At Christman Ramsey & Foster, we prioritize protecting our client’s interests, equipping them for a difficult journey, and delivering skilled and legal advocacy and advice.
While every case is different, here are some quick legal steps that are typical after being served divorce papers:
1. Read the notice immediately
A common mistake is to put the documents aside or ignore them entirely. Like many legal notices, there are deadlines to file a response, and in Texas, the deadline to answer a divorce petition is 10 a.m. on the Monday after 20 days have gone by since you were served with papers. This includes weekends and holidays. Therefore, it is important to read the divorce papers quickly so that you are aware of what is expected of you moving forward. The court could grant your spouse a default judgment if you fail to respond.
2. Consult with a divorce attorney
Even if you read the divorce papers, you will undoubtedly have questions, comments, and additional concerns about your unique situation. You may also be confused about the deadline itself, what your rights are, and what might happen next. This is where an attorney can help. Some cases require aggressive advocacy while others require patience, de-escalation, and diplomatic solutions.
3. File a response
Your attorney will guide you on properly answering the divorce petition. Doing so ensures that your voice will be heard should you decide to fight certain aspects related to child custody, asset division, spousal maintenance, etc. At the same time, your rights are protected moving forward, preventing your spouse from requesting a default judgment.
The fact of the matter is that no two divorces are the same. One case could involve a couple with limited assets and no kids, and both are willing to work together to find a peaceful resolution. Another could start amicably only to break down over custody decisions and who gets to keep the house. There are also cases where there’s seemingly no end in sight; millions of dollars in marital assets need to be divided, kids are stuck in the middle, and the parties involved aren’t on speaking terms.
Where you fall in that spectrum may not be clearly defined until we sit down, dive into your unique situation, and determine the best course of action after you have been served.
Please call Christman | Daniell Attorneys for your legal needs today!
Please consult an attorney for advice about your individual situation. The material on this website and in this or any blog article we publish are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice. The attorneys at Christman | Daniell Attorneys believe in tailoring legal advice and solutions to your own personal circumstances.
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