What should you do if you are serving divorce papers?
All family law situations are unique. Sometimes both people want to file for divorce. In other circumstances, only one party wants to file for divorce. Sometimes people spend months or even years anticipating that a divorce will be inevitable, and then there are situations when one person’s want or need for a divorce comes as a complete surprise to their spouse. While no two situations are alike, the formal process necessary in order for people to get divorce papers applies in all situations.
How to serve family court papers
In New Jersey, in order to start a divorce matter, a complaint for divorce must be filed with the court. Once that document is filed with the court, and assigned a docket number, the complaint and the supporting documents must be served on the other spouse. Essentially, serving divorce papers means that the party who filed a complaint for divorce (who is referred to as the Plaintiff) must serve the complaint for divorce upon the other party (who will be referred to as the Defendant) either personally or through a process server, or if that person is represented by an attorney, through an attorney. Having an attorney accept service on a litigant’s behalf is the easiest way to proceed, but sometimes that may not be feasible.
Sometimes people considering divorce, want to know how to get divorce papers or where to get divorce papers. If you are served with divorce papers, it is essential that you consult with an attorney. It is imperative that you explore the cost of hiring an attorney and consider options to litigate, such as alternative dispute resolution methods. Consult with an attorney, but also consult with other professionals that can help you to navigate the divorce process.
Even if you decide to represent yourself during the divorce, making sure that you consult with a family law attorney to protect yourself and your family and have an understanding of your rights is critical for a successful outcome that addresses the issues that are most important to you.
Do not ignore divorce papers. Read those papers carefully, and make sure that you understand them. They have to be addressed.
If you are the person filing the divorce papers, once they are served, there is a 35 day waiting period to allow the other party an opportunity to respond. What happens next will depend upon if, when and how the spouse addresses being served with the complaint for divorce.
How long does it take to serve divorce papers? Depending upon your circumstances, and how you will be proceeding, determines the length of time. If your spouse knows that you are filing for divorce and is already represented by an attorney, serving the divorce papers is a fairly easy process. However, if your spouse does not know that you plan to file for divorce or is evading service, which means they are trying to avoid being served with the divorce papers, the process can be more lengthy, more time-consuming and costly, both financially and otherwise.
If you need help filling out divorce papers or have questions, as to how to serve family court papers or how long it takes to get divorced and what happens after you get your divorce papers filed, contact us today at DeTorres and DeGeorge. Our family law practitioners have demonstrated that we can effectively advocate and guide our clients to navigate through difficult family matters. Schedule your consultation today.