Served With Divorce Papers? A Three Day Action Plan
Holy ##$@!!! – My Spouse Wants Everything!
Divorce petitions always ask for everything but the kitchen sink. The legal rule is: if you don’t ask for it in the petition, you cannot get it later. So don’t worry, petitions ALWAYS ask for everything.The Divorce Petition says I have to pay for his or her attorney fees! Again, this is standard. It doesn’t mean your spouse will get this. If there is an attorney on the other side the petition is guaranteed to contain a request for everything under the sun. Failing to do this can result in a malpractice claim against the attorney.
Do I need to hire a divorce attorney the minute I get served?
No. You have 20 days. That is plenty of time to think about the divorce situation, and shop for the attorney you like and can afford. Divorce petitions can be answered on day 19 or day 20. But the most important thing – don’t ignore the divorce petition. And it is always better to have an attorney than not have an attorney. Divorce is complex and the playing rules are not always clear.
Twenty one days have gone by. Can I still answer the divorce petition?
Yes. But you need to answer the petition immediately. In general, the court takes at least 7 more days to enter a default against you. If your answer shows up in that time, a default will not be entered. But remember, you cannot count on this extra time. If you are 21 days into being serviced, get your answer and file it today. Don’t wait till tomorrow!
Can I hire an attorney to only help me with my answer to the petition?
Yes. Ayo and Iken can provide you with a one-time service. This may lower costs for your divorce. But if you can afford full representation then our paperwork service will be a poor substitute for the real thing – an attorney that looks after your interests and fights for your rights.
What to Do The Day You Were Served With Divorce Papers
- Don’t panic about the divorce – best decisions are made with a cool head.
- Sit down, relax, and read the divorce papers several times.
- Don’t call your spouse in anger – no contact is best for the moment.
- Read this entire website – knowledge about the divorce process always helps take the fear away.
- When you finish the above steps, take a short break and then read all of the materials again until you thoroughly understand what is ahead.
- If you have children, do not draw them into the marital conflict. This is best for your children and will put you in the strongest position when your case goes to court.
- You have 20 days from the date on the summons to send a required answer to the divorce papers. No more than 20! So don’t go into hibernation mode.
- If possible, take off your job tomorrow and devote some thought and planning time to the situation.
- Talk with friends and family about the divorce. If it was a secret, it is about to be “out of the bag.” You need the support of friends and family at this time.
- Talk with an attorney sooner than later. There is room to maneuver early in the process. That maneuvering room quickly disappears later in the divorce process.
The Day After You Were Served With Divorce Papers
- You must decide if you will represent yourself for your divorce case or hire an attorney. You already know our opinion on that.
- If you want an attorney, make your telephone calls. Call us to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.
- If you are a do-it-yourself person, continue reading all you can for the next 7 days. You have almost two weeks to act and you must become well informed. If you are determined to take this course then spring for a paid consult with the aim of giving you some self-help marching orders. It will be money well spent.
- Review the location and amount of all your assets. If possible, remove money from accounts and put it in a place of security. Do not deprive your spouse of necessary funds to live on. That would backfire on you. It is essential that you do this step quickly and completely.
- Review your credit cards and any other sources of credit. If possible, cancel cards that are joint accounts or remove your spouse’s name from the card. Anything that slips through the cracks will likely come back to haunt you.
- Speed is your best tool – be thorough and act today. People that go into hibernation mode will pay a price later one.
- Go into conservation mode and build a rainy day fund. You may soon need it. That means you need to become ruthless about saving money.
- Begin to collect all records of assets, amounts owed, property, deeds, and family business records. If you are in the marital home, keep the records in a more secure place, like with a trusted friend. Documents disappear quickly so get moving !
- Call the IRS to find out how to request copies of the last 5 years of tax returns – if you don’t already have them. You can either get exact copies of your tax return or get something called a transcript. Either version will do for the divorce case. You can also get transcripts online at many different providers.
Your Other Steps After Being Served With Divorce Papers
- Continue your education on divorce issues. This is one of the biggest and most important projects of your life right now. Read books and attend seminars. Become an expert. Get educated by your attorney. If you made the correct choice and retained us – be sure to make us earn our money by educating you.
- Make a financial plan or a household budget for the next 12 months. Don’t spend unnecessary money. The word Scrooge should acquire a very personal meaning for you.
- Get a notebook and a holder for paperwork. Set up a central collection point for all the information you gather during your divorce. Keep a detailed diary and jot down anything you learn from your educational efforts. Don’t cram stacks of paperwork into a container. Invest in a proper binder, and three hole punch.
- Don’t fall into despair. All stressful events eventually pass. Yes, getting a divorce petition is very stressful. And you may feel your life is coming apart. But the vast majority survive their divorce, begin new lives, and eventually regain happiness and satisfaction. This would be a good time to get close with friends and family. The people that do best in a divorce are people that avoid isolation.
Common Sense Things to Do
- Get out of the house and stop being a hermit.
- Don’t constantly complain about unfairness. Life is inherently unfair. Now get over it!
- Don’t launch into a bad eating binge. That is no good for your body and worse for your mind.
- Try to get some exercise. Walking every night will do miracles for your mind.
The Best Step You Can Take
Call us or make a request through our contact form for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. A good attorney that will aggressively fight for your rights is not only an investment, but will immediately put your mind to ease.
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I recently settled a long-term divorce with Attorney Kristal Knox representing me. She was very professional, honest, and worked in my best interest at all times. She was very accessible and has wonderful office staff to support her client’s needs in a timely manner, and I highly recommend her.
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