You’re Seeking a Divorce: Now What?

selective focus of couple sitting at table with divorce documents

You have been weighing your options for months now and have decided to divorce your spouse. It can be a confusing time, and we advise our clients of its process from beginning to end. Here are a few things we tell our clients about divorce:

Serving Your Spouse

You (or your attorney on your behalf) will file for divorce with the court.  After filing for divorce, you need to give your spouse a copy of the Summons and Complaint for Divorce (and any other paperwork). Once served with divorce papers, your spouse is considered the defendant. The process of giving your wife or husband the papers is known as the “service of process.” Since the court does not serve the documents for you, it is on your shoulders to make sure your spouse gets served. Service of process must be done within 91 days of the date you filed with the court.

Who Can Serve Your Spouse?

Just about anyone can “serve” the divorce documents to your spouse. However, the person serving must be 18 years or older and is not a party to your case. Often, you can ask a friend or hire a local Process Server or the Sheriff Department to deliver the documents to your spouse.

Ask That Your Attorney is “Served” Instead of You

If it is the case that your spouse filed first, it will be you that is served. If this is the case, you should not touch the papers being served to you. Instead, tell the person serving you to give the documentation to your attorney. There are a couple reasons why you should do this-

An Attorney Has Your Back

It is vital to figure out what your spouse is asking of the court. Of course, a divorce case is a process to end your marriage. Still, other items may need to be determined – such as property division, assets, alimony, child custody, child support. A divorce attorney can assess these terms and advise appropriately within the deadlines.

An Attorney Will Respond On Time

There are strict deadlines to adhere to when responding to served paperwork in a divorce. If your attorney receives the paperwork, it will ensure critical deadlines are met. If you decide not to respond, a Default Judgment of Divorce can be entered. A default Judgement of Divorce means your spouse can proceed with the terms they want. That might be okay if you don’t have any children, property, or assets. But we dare say most would not be happy with this arrangement. Your attorney will respond to the paperwork with terms that also benefit you as the defendant. In other words, your attorney will have your best interests in mind.

The understanding of the divorce process can put your mind at ease. Hiring a good Divorce Attorney will empower you at a critical point in your life. McCririe Law has been assisting divorce clients for over 39 years. We know what to expect and pass that knowledge to our clients. If you are considering divorce, please get in touch with us.