I’ve Been Served Divorce Papers, Now What?

You have been served divorce papers, now what? Don’t worry, there’s no need to fear. Everything you need to know to get you headed in the right direction is listed below.

Learn the Due Date for Your Response:
According to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 99, there should be a citation served along with your divorce papers that will say something similar to the following:“You may employ a Texas divorce attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of twenty days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgement may be taken against you.”

Get a Family Law Attorney:

As stated in the citation aspect of your divorce papers outlines, you can employ a divorce attorney. This is a good idea if you want to ensure that your best interests are protected, and under the advisement of a legal professional. Now is a good time to find that legal representative so they can help you will the next step of the process.

Act Within the Proper Time Frame
It is crucial for you or your lawyer acting on your behalf to respond or answer your divorce petition. If you fail to act within the allotted time frame, your spouse will be able to obtain a default judgment. This will mean a judgment in their favor due to your failure to act. In other words, it gives your spouse the benefit of a one-sided argument before a judge.

Answer the Original Petition for Divorce
This “answer” is a formal document that you draft in response to the papers you were served. This answer communicates to the court that you want to participate in the process of your divorce. Filing your answer does not mean you are now divorced. It simply protects you from getting taken advantage of by your spouse during the proceedings.

Gather Your Paperwork, Get Your Finances in Order, & Get Organized
Finances are a big part of any divorce. You will save yourself from frustration if you start getting important paperwork together now. Make sure you have copies of any important documents, such as credit card statements, tax returns, bank statements and retirement accounts. You want proof of your current assets and debts. If you have children who will be involved, gather their medical records, birth certificates, insurance cards, daycare invoices or records and school records. These documents will all be important if your spouse contests custody or you need child support. Since you are separating your assets after a divorce, it is also wise to go ahead and open up a personal checking account, especially if you only have a joint account.

Getting served divorce papers can be scary and cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious, which is understandable. Don’t fret, though, because there’s laws in place to protect you throughout the proceedings. It’s also important to have an attorney who specializes in family law. When you have a good divorce attorney at your side, you will see that having a trusted advisor will help you get through this process.  You can and will get through it and in some cases come out the other side even better than before. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Diana Tough

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