If you have been served with divorce paperwork, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Receiving this paperwork can feel stressful and overwhelming, and it’s important to know that you have rights and an opportunity to be heard. In the paperwork you have been provided, you should see a Petition for Divorce or Legal Separation, which details what your spouse is asking for in the divorce, as well as a Summons and Complaint, which gives the court the authority to hear and determine your case.
It is essential to read the Summons in it’s entirely. A divorce is a lawsuit- and once you’ve been served, you have certain rules that you must follow or you can face ramifications through the court. For example, you must not remove your spouse from any insurance policies, nor may you transfer or encumber any property without your spouse’s consent. These rules are laid out on the summons.
You have thirty days to respond to the divorce, and the clock begins the moment you were served. You must fill out and serve responsive paperwork quickly after being served if you would like to contest the case. If you don’t respond to the paperwork, your spouse can obtain a default judgment against you. This means that you will not have a chance to state your case to the court.