What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served?  


What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served?  

The first step any spouse should take when considering a divorce is to speak with an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer. There are numerous rights a spouse needs to consider including property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. There are strict procedural rules for how to file a divorce complaint, what the defendant spouse must do, how the issues are brought to the attention of the court, and what court documents you’ll need to confirm your divorce and your rights.

After the divorce complaint is filed, the spouse who does not file for divorce must take certain steps to preserve his/her rights. The main stages of the divorce process, immediately after the divorce complaint is filed, include answering what happens after divorce papers are served

What happens after divorce papers are served? Who serves divorce papers?

According to the New Jersey Courts, “either partner in a marriage, civil union or domestic partnership can file for divorce in New Jersey as long as at least one member of the couple lives in the state.” There are additional rules for filing divorce if either spouse lives out of state.

The complaint for divorce should state the grounds for divorce or that the marriage is irretrievably broken and why it is irretrievably broken. The complaint is assigned a case number also called a docket number. At this stage, your lawyer can then arrange for service of the divorce complaint on your spouse. What happens after divorce papers are served is then the next issue to be considered.

Service means handing the divorce complaint to your spouse/the defendant. It also means verifying that the complaint was served – usually by the filing of an affidavit of service. The affidavit of service states when and how the complaint was served, who served the complaint, and who received the complaint.

What happens after divorce papers are served? A spouse can serve the other spouse directly. This is, generally, only a good idea if your spouse is friendly and is willing to sign an acknowledgment of the service. In many divorce cases, our lawyers arrange for the county sheriff or a private process server to serve your spouse.

What happens after divorce papers are served? There can be complications such as if a spouse is in prison, a hospital, or has left the state. Our skilled lawyers help arrange for service in these unique cases.

What happens after divorce papers are served? As long as there are no objections from your spouse, the divorce remains uncontested and you can file for a default judgment after 35 days. This will result in a hearing date being set, where a judge will review the papers and ensure that you and your spouse are still in agreement. He or she will then issue the final divorce decree.

What happens after divorce papers are served? How long after being served divorce papers do you have to respond?

The question of how long do you have to respond to divorce papers in New Jersey is normally 35 days. If no objections are filed, then the spouse who started the divorce can seek to have a final divorce decree entered – after a hearing date to double-check that your spouse still agrees to the divorce.


Defendants who wish to contest the divorce or assert any other rights should understand that the question of how long after filing divorce are papers served should best be reviewed with a skilled New Jersey lawyer – as quickly as possible after the divorce papers are served?

What happens after divorce papers are served? What to do when served with divorce papers?

If you are served with divorce papers, you should speak with a seasoned New Jersey family lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will review whether your agree to the divorce or wish to contest it. She’ll also review whether you wish to assert or defend any other open issues – equitable division of property, child custody, alimony, and child support.

If you do not respond within the correct time or in the correct way, you may lose all of your marital rights. What happens after divorce papers are served is best answered by recommending you call a skilled family lawyer.

At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our New Jersey family lawyers guide spouses through each phase of the divorce process. We ensure that the correct papers are filed at the correct time in the correct manner. We understand what happens after divorce papers are served  We understand how to respond to any court filings by your spouse’s lawyer. Our seasoned divorce lawyers prepare agreements that protect your interests. We often resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, or a collaborative divorce. When necessary, we’re ready to protect your interests in court. To discuss all aspects of your divorce, including service of papers, call us at 908-691-2104 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.


Kristen E. Blucher
Kristen Blucher joined DeTorres and DeGeorge as an associate attorney in September 2021. Prior to joining the firm, Kristen served as a law clerk to the Hon. John P. McDonald, J.S.C., Family Part, Somerset County for the 2020-2021 term.  Kristen
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