Steps to Take When You Are Served with Divorce Papers

The most important step to take after being served with divorce papers is to contact a family law attorney with experience in Owings Mills family courts. Being served with divorce papers can be a very difficult—even traumatic—experience, but it’s crucial to act right away because you have a limited period of time in which to file your response. If you do not retain the services of a divorce lawyer promptly, he or she may not be able to file your written answer within this time period.

Review the Legal Documents Carefully

Divorce Decree Your divorce lawyer will help you understand the documents you received. Generally, divorce papers include the complaint or petition for divorce, a summons, and a tracking assignment. The tracking assignment informs you which judge has been assigned to your case. The document package should also include a blank financial statement; your family law attorney can prepare your financial affidavit for you. You might receive a motion for temporary orders, which will indicate the hearing date during which the motions will be ruled on. Temporary orders can make provisions for child custody, visitation schedules, and support while the divorce is pending.

Organize Important Information

After you schedule your initial consultation with a family law attorney, you’ll need to organize relevant documents. These include documents pertaining to marital assets, such as retirement accounts, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, and checking accounts, as well as documents pertaining to your income, like income tax returns and paystubs. Make copies of these statements and make copies of tax returns, credit card statements, and loans. It’s also a good idea to make copies of your children’s birth certificates, health insurance cards, medical records, daycare invoices, and daycare records. These documents may be useful in determining support obligations and demonstrating your involvement in your children’s daily lives.

File an Answer

After you meet with the divorce lawyer, he or she will draft your written answer to the divorce petition and file it with the appropriate court. Then, your lawyer will guide you through the next steps in the divorce process, such as preparing for upcoming court appearances and divorce mediation.