Regardless of whether you were expecting this or not, being served with divorce papers can be shocking and overwhelming as there is a lot to consider. If your spouse wishes to dissolve the marriage, they must serve you with a Summons and a Complaint for Divorce to initiate the divorce process. There are certain steps you must take after receiving divorce papers. To ensure you take the proper steps, you need our qualified Monmouth County Divorce & Separation Attorneys on your side. With years of experience, our firm can help you navigate this legal process. Keep reading to learn what to do if you are served with divorce papers. 

What do I do if I’ve been served divorce papers in New Jersey?

If you have recently been served a divorce summons, you may feel like you have no option besides battling it out in court. However, you have other options, including negotiation through divorce mediation. To best understand your options and the impending legal process, the most effective step you can take after receiving divorce papers is to retain an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney can walk you through this intricate legal process and help you evaluate alternative options. This can help you reach a fair divorce settlement with favorable terms. After hiring quality legal representation, you will need to answer the summons.

When served divorce papers, you will be required to respond to the court within a certain timeframe. Therefore, you should read through the documents thoroughly to ensure you have all the information you need to proceed. If you neglect to answer the summons or accidentally miss the deadline, you risk the court taking it as a sign that you will not contest what your spouse has dictated in the papers and agree to all the terms stipulated in the summons. This will result in a default judgment where the court rules in favor of the petitioner which will lead to unfavorable terms. To prevent a default judgment, you must provide the court with your answer within 35 days of receiving the papers. From here, your attorney can help you file a counterclaim. Oftentimes those served divorce papers fail to file a counterclaim. A counter-claim is essentially a claim made to rebut a previous claim. If the petitioner changes their mind and no longer wants to pursue a divorce at any point, a counterclaim will allow you to proceed with the divorce despite their change of heart. This will help you avoid refiling.

Furthermore, although you may be faced with a mix of emotions, do not allow your negative emotions to control critical decisions like responding to the divorce summons. Regardless of how complex your situation is, our firm is prepared to work tirelessly to help you reach a favorable divorce agreement that can help you start moving forward with the next chapter of your life with a clean slate.