What Should You Do After Being Served A Divorce Petition?

Unless you and your spouse have discussed getting divorces, being served papers can be a surprising experience. Unfortunately, time is not always on your side in a divorce and your spouse is already considerably ahead of you by the time you are served. If you have just been served papers, here are some tips for what you need to do now. 

Respond to the Petition

It is imperative that you file a response to the petition with the court. When you respond, you have the option of accepting the divorce on the grounds stated by your spouse or you can counterclaim. 

If you choose to counterclaim, you have to cite what reasons you feel the divorce should be granted. For instance, if your spouse was unfaithful, you could counter and ask for divorce on the grounds of infidelity. 

The petition you receive will state how many days you have to respond. Make note of this date. If you fail to respond to the action by the date, the court could proceed forward with actions in the case. You could miss out on crucial notifications, such as hearing dates in your case. 

You also risk having the divorce considered uncontested and you could lose your right to provide input on important issues. 

Organize Important Documents

During your marriage, it is likely that you and your spouse accumulated assets and debts. It is imperative that you collect copies of every financial document you can find. Financial documents include everything from your income tax filings to bank statements. These documents can help the court and your divorce attorney get a clear picture of the marital finances. 

Do not store the collected documents at home. To ensure that your spouse does not get your copies of the documents, store them in a safe deposit box. As you store each item, make sure you keep an itemized list of what you are storing so that you can quickly reference it when searching for documents. 

Once you start working with an attorney, you will start to receive correspondence from him or her and also the courts. Keep all of these documents in your safety deposit box, too. The letters from your attorney could contain information about your case that could fall into the hands of your spouse if not secured. 

Consult with your divorce attorney about other steps you should take immediately after you are served.