Maybe you were waiting for it, maybe not, but here you have it: your spouse has filed documents and now you hold papers that say “you have been sued in court”. You have never been in a courtroom, so here is a simple guide for what to do when served with divorce papers.
Even if you remain friends with your ex-spouse, the divorce process is still a lawsuit. Your spouse is entitled to request something from you and the court has the power to grant it. It doesn’t mean you will have to fight about your divorce, children, or property, but it does mean your rights will be affected. You should understand that your actions (or the lack of actions) will have consequences.
The first thing you need to do is to make informed decisions; therefore, try to educate yourself as thoroughly as you can about the divorce process and where you stand. If you don’t know your rights and obligations, invest a little time in meeting with a lawyer to discuss matters that could save you from spending a lot of money, because “do-overs” are very expensive. Follow the simple rule: never guess about things that you can know for sure.
Anyway, what you are holding in your hand is a package that should include:
- The Complaint for Divorce or Petition for Divorce
- A Summons
- A Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
- Papers about the automatic restraining order on assets (which means that neither you nor your spouse can sell marital assets during the divorce process)
The package can also have a motion for temporary orders as well as information where the motion will be heard. You and your spouse can agree on those or the judge will decide. When you and your spouse can’t agree on issues of your divorce, it is called a contested divorce. Temporary orders include a lot of items, such as spousal support, child custody, who will pay the mortgage, visitation schedule, and so on.
This is when you may want to contact a divorce lawyer in Georgia. Not only are you required to complete multiple documents, but you also need to know how to work with the issues brought about by the temporary orders. Because these orders are dealing with many different issues, it is crucial that your interests are properly represented.
It’s understandable that you want to complete the divorce process quickly, but haste can make things worse. However, you shouldn’t fear deadlines if you organize your resources, have correct and complete information, have the assistance you need, and prepare yourself. When you are represented by a lawyer, he or she will tell you what you can expect and what you need to do. Take appointments seriously and understand what you’re getting into. Pay what the court delegates you to pay, be where the court says you need to be, and come fully prepared for these appointments. The court is frightening only if you are not prepared, or if you have no idea where you stand in the process.
This can be changed if you come with an attentive, diligent, and proactive lawyer. If you need legal help with your divorce in Georgia, call us now to set up a personal consultation. We can reached at 770-609-1247.