What Should I Do if I’ve Been Served Divorce Papers in CA?

divorce papers and ring

Whether you had no idea your spouse wanted to file for divorce or knew it was inevitable, being served divorce papers can turn your world upside down. Unfortunately, there are many considerations you’ll need to make upon receiving these documents. However, due to the surprising and often emotional nature of this event, you may not know how to proceed. The following blog, in conjunction with a Los Angeles divorce attorney, can help you navigate this process. Keep reading to learn more about the steps you must take after you’ve been served.

What Are Divorce Papers?

The minute you receive the papers signifies the official start of the divorce. As such, you are officially the respondent in the case. When you receive divorce papers, it’s vital to understand what’s included in these documents. Generally, you will receive a summons and a petition.

A summons is an official notice that your spouse has filed for divorce. As such, it will contain information about when you must appear in court and how to proceed in your jurisdiction. The petition contains more detailed information about the grounds on which your spouse is filing, as well as any additional information.

It’s essential to note that California divorce papers enact an Automatic Temporary Restraining Order (ATRO).  This doe not need to be filed by either party, as it automatically goes into effect once the paper has been served. This is a safeguard to protect both parties. If a spouse violates this order, it is a criminal offense.

How Do I Proceed After Being Served?

After you are served, you must take the time to process your emotions and collect yourself. This is important, as you don’t want to make any rash decisions about the terms of your divorce. Once you have taken the time to collect yourself and your throughs, you’ll need to read through the documents carefully. Be sure to note the important dates, such as when you must respond to the petition and when the summons requires you to appear in court. The petition will also include information about the terms your spouse requests, such as alimony amounts or the division of certain assets.

Next, you’ll want to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You must respond to the petition, as failure to do so will likely result in a default judgment against you. Your lawyer can help you file a response by the deadline.

Going through a divorce is an extremely emotional time for many. As such, it’s important to take the necessary steps to put your best interest first. Retaining the assistance of a lawyer is vital, as this allows you to place the legal complexities of your case in good hands so you can focus on healing. Contact the Zitser Family Law Group today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging times.

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