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What Do I Do When I’ve Been Served Divorce Papers in New Jersey?

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What started as a typical day at home can quickly flip your world upside down when the knock on your door results in you receiving papers informing you that your marriage is ending. When your spouse files for divorce, they must serve you papers informing you of this process. Even if your relationship wasn’t going well, this may leave you confused and overwhelmed. The following blog, in conjunction with the help of a Somerset County divorce attorney, can help you navigate this process.

What Are Divorce Papers?

When a spouse files for divorce, they must notify their partner, as this is a formal legal process. As such, the recipient spouse will receive documents that signify the beginning of the formal dissolution of their marriage. Generally, this includes a summons and a petition.

The summons is a formal notification that your spouse has summoned you to court to proceed with your divorce. This provides information about when you must appear in court and how to proceed in your jurisdiction. The petition contains more details about your divorce. Included are the grounds on which your spouse is filing for divorce and any requests involving alimony and child support or custody, if applicable.

How Do I Proceed After Getting These Papers?

After you receive the papers, it’s important to proceed carefully. Due to the emotional nature of divorce, many often forget that this is an important legal matter. Your first step should be to carefully read through the documents and note down information such as when you are supposed to appear in court and the deadline for your response.

Once you have taken the time to read through your papers and collect your thoughts, you need to reach out to an attorney. As your spouse has filed with the assistance of a lawyer, it is vital to ensure you have legal representation during this complex process. Not only can they help you immediately after you’ve been served, but they will also guide you throughout the duration of this process until your divorce is finalized. An attorney will help you submit a response, which prevents your spouse from obtaining a default judgment against you. Generally, you’ll have 30 days to respond, but the summons will provide the deadline.

After you’ve submitted the response to the summons, you’ll need to start gathering important information for your attorney. This includes financial records, asset ownership, and account information. You must provide this detail to help your attorney protect your separate assets. After this, you will continue with the standard divorce process of moving forward with your divorce.

Unfortunately, many spouses who are served divorce papers do not know how to proceed after. It cannot be stressed enough that hiring legal representation is the most essential thing you must do when you enter the divorce process. Trying to navigate this matter on your own will likely leave you vulnerable to unfavorable terms and further heartache. Luckily, the Siragusa Law Firm is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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