What Do I Do If I Get Served With Divorce Papers?
Were you recently served with divorce papers by your spouse? If so, you need to be ready to take immediate action to protect your rights. At this time, it is normal to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and emotionally hurt. Still, if you fail to take action, you will only do damage to yourself and your interests. Here, our skilled Clearwater divorce attorney explains what you should do if you have been served with divorce papers.
You Should Always Respond to Divorce Papers
To start, you should understand what happens if you simply fail to respond to divorce papers: a default judgment will likely be entered against you. You cannot make the divorce go away by ignoring it. Not responding to divorce papers will not stop the process; in fact, it will not even slow down the process. Instead, the entire divorce could be conducted without your input. In effect, this means that your former partner will get to offer up their side of the story, while your side of the story is left out. This can only hurt you. To protect your legal rights, you need to be sure to respond to divorce papers.
You Can File an Answer or a Counterclaim
In responding to divorce papers in Florida, you have two basic options: you can file either or both an answer or counterclaim. In an answer, a person has the opportunity to lay out their side of the case, responding directly to any arguments made by the spouse. In a counterclaim, a person can make their own independent request for a divorce, on whichever grounds that they see fit. No matter which type of response you are submitting, it is imperative that you prepare a response that is carefully drafted and well-reasoned. It is strongly recommended that you seek guidance from a qualified Florida divorce lawyer.
You Can Still Reach a Divorce Settlement
Finally, it is important to note that you still have plenty of time to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Regardless of the type of response you submit, your settlement options will still remain on the table. By responding to divorce papers, you are preserving your rights and ensuring that your former partner will not get to control the full terms of the divorce. For most people, a mutually agreeable settlement is the ideal outcome. You may want to work through Florida’s collaborative divorce process, mediation, informal negotiation, or litigation. Your divorce lawyer can help you find the best method of dispute resolution for your specific case.
Contact Our Clearwater Divorce Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our experienced Florida divorce attorney is standing by, ready to assist you with your case. If you have been served with divorce papers, please contact our law firm today at (727) 584-2528 for a confidential case review. With an office in Largo, we represent individuals and families throughout the Florida Suncoast, including in Pinellas County and Pasco County.