I've Been Served with Divorce papers... What do I do Now?
If you are reading this article, most likely you have been served with divorce papers and are confused as to what you should do next. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially if the divorce was unexpected. Unsettling thoughts about your marriage, your children, your property, and your future are in full effect. While it is normal to feel stressed during this time, it is imperative that you understand that you must act fast and face your divorce head on. Here are three important things for you to do:
1. Respond to the Lawsuit
Because your spouse filed for the divorce, your spouse is the petitioner and you are the respondent in this case. As the respondent, you must respond to the lawsuit by filing a written answer with the court to avoid having a default judgment entered against you. A default judgment can occur if you fail to respond to the lawsuit within the time specified by the law. If your spouse seeks a default judgment against you, the court may grant their request for support, property, and custody.
So when is your answer due? You must file your answer no later than the Monday following the expiration of 20 days from the date you were served. What that means is, when you receive your divorce papers, count 20 days from that date, and file your answer no later than the following Monday after the 20th day!!
2. Protect Your Rights
In Texas, all property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. Community property may include real estate, cars, retirement accounts, a business, furniture, and more. Depending on the length of your marriage, you and your spouse are bound to have acquired a significant amount of property together. You may have also had a significant amount of separate property prior to your marriage that you wish to remain as such.
At the dissolution of your marriage, it’s crucial for you take the proper steps to have your marital property divided in a just and right manner.
Additionally, if you and your spouse have any minor children, you want to ensure that your custody, visitation, and child support rights are addressed and protected. Chances are, you have had played a significant role in your children’s life and that relationship shouldn’t suffer because you and your spouse are divorcing.
3. Contact an Attorney Immediately
As soon as you are served with divorce papers, you should contact an attorney immediately. You don’t want to contact just any attorney, you want to make sure that the attorney you are considering is qualified to effectively represent you in your divorce. Your attorney will ensure that your answer is filed in a timely manner along with any counterclaims you may have against your spouse. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner you can begin strategizing an action plan for your divorce.
The Quander Law Firm PLLC | Houston Divorce Lawyers
If you have been served with divorce papers, a Houston divorce attorney at the Quander Law Firm PLLC can guide you through the process while protecting your rights and property. Contact the Quander Law Firm PLLC by calling (832) 930-7139 or submit your contact information through our online contact form. The Quander Law Firm PLLC handles divorce cases in Harris County and the surrounding counties.