Six Things To Do After Receiving Divorce Papers
When someone is served with divorce papers, he or she may feel overwhelmed for a variety of different reasons. Receiving divorce papers for the first time may make the prospect of divorce feel real to you for the first time, it may force you to think about all of the tasks you must now complete […]
When someone is served with divorce papers, he or she may feel overwhelmed for a variety of different reasons. Receiving divorce papers for the first time may make the prospect of divorce feel real to you for the first time, it may force you to think about all of the tasks you must now complete to get ready for life post-divorce, or it may dredge up memories, both good and bad, of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This feeling of being overwhelmed may be particularly poignant if you are not expecting to receive divorce papers at all. Whether spouses are expecting to receive divorce papers or not, they should do these six things after receiving divorce papers from the filing spouse:
Carefully Read the Divorce Papers
Reading every line of the divorce papers you receive from your spouse thoroughly is the first and perhaps most important task you can perform upon receipt of the papers. This is because crucial facts and procedural requirements concerning the divorce and the divorce process in New Jersey may be gleaned by reading the entirety of the divorce papers. According to New Jersey law, filing spouses are required to serve on the non-filing spouse, among other things, a copy of his or her divorce complaint, a certification of insurance, and a summons. These documents, read in their entirety, will inform you of the ground on which your spouse is trying to obtain a divorce, if your spouse is asserting any ancillary claims against you such as claims for alimony pendente lite, alimony, child support, or child custody, that you and your spouse may not modify or cancel any insurance policies you own until further order of court, and that you have 35 days from the day you received the divorce papers to file a response to your spouse’s divorce complaint.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney
After thoroughly reading the divorce papers you receive, it is prudent to bring these papers to an experienced family law attorney so that this attorney can discuss your legal options with you. Since every divorce case is different, consultation with an attorney may help you decide whether you want to contest the divorce or work towards a divorce agreement with your spouse. Further, if after consultation with an attorney, you hire this attorney, this attorney will prepare and file a response to your spouse’s divorce complaint on your behalf. Because family law attorneys perform this task on a regular basis for their clients, the response they draft and file on your behalf will likely be better than any response that you draft and file on your own.
Prepare and File a Response
As previously stated, New Jersey law affords non-filing spouse 35 days from the date of service to file a response to the filing spouse’s divorce complaint. It is important that you timely file this response and that you also comply with the state rules concerning style and form of drafting this response. If you fail to follow the procedural rules regarding the drafting and filing of a response to your spouse’s divorce complaint, you may waive certain counterclaims you want to raise or otherwise may be placed in an undesirable position.
Make an Inventory or Accounting of your Assets
Making an inventory or accounting of your assets after receiving divorce papers is beneficial because it allows you to see how much you own and what items you would like to retain in the divorce. Moreover, it will allow you to realize that you may need to take extra measures to protect certain assets. These extra measures may include setting up a separate bank account and redirecting your direct deposit paycheck from your joint bank account to this new account.
Think About the Children
When spouses have children and subsequently divorce, they must think about their shared children so as to provide for their best interests. Consequently, once you receive divorce papers, you may want to think about what type of custody arrangement you want and which arrangement would be most beneficial to your children.
Monitor and/or Protect Communications from your Spouse
Finally, upon receipt of divorce papers, you should monitor and keep all written communications that occur between you and your spouse as well as a record of oral communications shared between you and your spouse. Monitoring your responses to your spouse and keeping a record of any exchange may benefit you in the future if, for some reason, you must use this record as proof in a court proceeding. Further, you should also protect your communications with others, particularly your attorney, from your spouse as the communication may contain information integral to your legal strategy in the divorce proceeding.
Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Davis & Mendelson represent clients throughout the state, including Voorhees. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 866-560-9512 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1200 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 101, Voorhees, NJ 08043.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.