Being served with divorce papers is a stressful experience. It’s hard to think clearly as you try to wrap your head around what’s happening, so you may not know who to turn to or what to do next. Take a few deep breaths to calm down. Then, follow these steps immediately after being served with divorce papers:
Hire An Attorney
It’s in your best interests to hire an experienced family law attorney as soon as you are served divorce papers. You will need an attorney’s guidance, legal advice, and expertise from this point forward, so the sooner you have one on board, the better.
It’s important to discuss your goals with your attorney before taking further action. What do you want to get out of the divorce? What are your top priorities? Answering these questions can help an attorney determine your next steps.
Respond to the Complaint
The person who is served the divorce papers has 35 days to file a response in the state of New Jersey. Many people choose to respond by filing an appearance. This tells the court that you are not contesting the divorce, but you may contest the terms of child support, alimony, or another form of relief that your spouse requested.
You can also choose to file an answer in response to divorce papers. Filing an answer gives you the opportunity to own up to the allegations in the divorce papers that are true, but deny the ones that are false. If you would like to make allegations against your spouse, you will need to file a counterclaim along with an answer.
Being served with divorce papers can stir up a lot of negative emotions–especially if the divorce caught you off-guard. But, do not act on these negative emotions. Resist the urge to angrily contact your significant other and stay off of social media, too. Lashing out at your significant other can affect the outcome of your divorce, so it’s crucial to stay calm.
Discuss Living Arrangements
A judge can order one spouse to immediately leave the marital home if there are allegations of abuse, but otherwise both spouses have the right to stay after divorce papers have been filed. However, one spouse typically leaves voluntarily in order to avoid the awkwardness of living with their soon-to-be ex. Work with your attorney to figure out your living arrangements as soon as possible. Having a home to go to everyday will provide you with stability during this challenging time.
Have you been served with divorce papers? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC at once. Our experienced attorneys guide clients through every step of the divorce proceedings. We will work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome in your divorce. Call our office at (908) 738-8404, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.