I Was Served With Divorce Papers – What Should I Do?
Take a deep breath, and know that you are going to be all right.
This is your first step in the divorce process. Whether you knew that your spouse was ready to file for divorce, or whether you have been blind-sided by the filing, you need to start taking steps to protect yourself, your assets, your credit, and your relationship with your children.
For some people, this is the worst day of their life. For other people, it is a welcome relief.
No matter how difficult it may be, take a few minutes to review the papers that you have received. There may be signed orders that prevent you from returning to your marital home or that prevent you from liquidating assets. There may be notices directing you to appear in court for a hearing.
Once you have reviewed the papers, you need to call an attorney and set up a consultation. An attorney will take control of the process and start advancing and protecting your interests.
Do not ignore your divorce papers. In Michigan, your spouse can proceed with the divorce even if you want to stay married. If you were personally served with a Complaint for Divorce, you only have 21 days to get an answer filed with the court. If you were served by registered or certified mail, you have 28 days to file your answer with the court. You only have 14 days to file an objection to an ex-parte order.
It is very important that you get your answers and objections filed with the court on time so that a default is not entered against you. A default lets your spouse decide what property you receive, what debts you will have to pay, when you will see your children, and how much child or spousal support you have to pay.
Earlier, I said that this is your first step in the divorce process. Your spouse is already several steps ahead of you. A skilled and talented divorce attorney will take this brief advantage away from your spouse and make sure that you are treated fairly in your divorce.