Steps to Take After Divorce Papers Have Been Served
Divorce proceedings can begin in many ways. In some cases, divorce is foreseen and is finally filed after a couple has separated for years. Another circumstance, though, is where divorce comes as a complete shock to the spouse who receives the divorce papers. While it is normal to be bewildered and anxious after being served with divorce papers, it is absolutely vital to act immediately. What do you do, then, after you’ve been served divorce papers?
Read and Understand Your Divorce Papers
After accepting service of the documents, the next step is to carefully read over the paperwork. The documents should contain important information like the court where the action was filed and your response deadline. They may as well allege the grounds for divorce. The papers may also state requests made by your spouse on matters such as child custody, spousal support, and division of property. They may also say whether your spouse has retained an attorney or is handling the divorce on their own.
Find an Attorney
Your life may dramatically change because of a divorce. If you are hesitant about what action to take next or what the divorce papers mean, it is important to consult with an attorney immediately. Retaining an attorney is especially necessary if your spouse has already done so. This is because you and your spouse need to be on an equal footing throughout the divorce proceeding.
File a Response
Once you have been served with divorce papers in Colorado, you normally have 21 days to respond to the divorce filing. This reply is called an answer. Your answer informs the court as to whether you agree or disagree with what your spouse says in the divorce complaint. The next step is to file an Answer and Waiver to the Petition if you agree with the provisions presented. If you agree, this means the divorce will proceed uncontested. If you disagree with what is enumerated in the petition, though, you must individually address the issues you are contesting.
If you fail to file an answer, your spouse may file for default with the court. This action means that it is possible for the judge to proceed with the case, make decisions without your active participation, and give your spouse everything they are asking for in the divorce complaint.
After filing a response, gather all information and documentation helpful to your case. Collect legal documents like birth certificates, your marriage certificate, and your social security card. If you expect child custody to be contested, then get copies of your children’s medical records, daycare or school records and invoices.
Make an inventory of your personal and joint assets. You must also make copies of relevant financial documents that show the household’s income, assets and debts, such as tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, and retirement accounts.