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I Just Got Served With Divorce Papers. What Do I Do Now?

Posted on in Divorce

Tarrant County divorce lawyerIf you heard someone knocking on your door and answered it to find a sheriff or process server standing on your porch holding a packet with a divorce petition in it, you may have been caught off guard. Perhaps you knew your relationship was not doing so well, but you never formally agreed to divorce or expected notice to come like this. 

It is common for spouses who have been surprised with divorce papers to feel shock, anger, hurt, denial, or all of the above. In addition to these feelings, you may also worry that, in taking action first, your spouse has permanently secured the upper hand in your divorce. Fortunately, this is not true and you do not have to figure out how to respond to your spouse’s divorce papers alone. Read this blog for an overview of what to do if you have been served with divorce papers, and then contact a Texas divorce attorney who can help you take decisive action. 

What Do I Need to Look for in a Divorce Petition? 

For many people, one of the most frustrating aspects of getting a divorce is the confusing legal language and forms that seem to never end. You may have scanned over your divorce petition, unsure of what to look for or what certain parts of it mean. 

Do not worry. You are not expected to suddenly become an attorney with full knowledge of Texas divorce law. Over time, you will become more familiar with some of the complex legal terms, but for now you should look for these things in your divorce decree: 

  • Your name - You will be listed as the “respondent” and your spouse will be listed as the “petitioner” 
  • Where the divorce was filed - This is usually the county where you or your spouse live and where the divorce proceedings will take place 
  • Grounds for divorce - This is the reason your spouse is asking for a divorce. They may list specific grounds (adultery, abandonment, etc.) or simply “insupportability,” which means you no longer get along and cannot reconcile
  • What your spouse is asking for, especially in regard to your minor children 
  • Any property your spouse listed 
  • Whether your spouse has asked for a protective order against you
  • The citation

All of the information above, except for the citation, will be contained in the divorce papers. The citation is a document that you were given when the papers were dropped off that tells you how much time you have to respond to your spouse’s divorce petition. This is usually 20 days after being given the divorce papers and it is important not to miss this deadline. 

Next, either by yourself or with the help of an attorney, you will need to file an answer to your spouse’s petition with the county court before the deadline. Even if you decide you want to mostly represent yourself during divorce, talking to an attorney can help you understand what you should ask for and what you can expect from the rest of the divorce process. 

Contact a Hurst, TX Divorce Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been served divorce papers, you do not need to worry about your spouse already having the upper hand. Instead, get help from experienced Tarrant County divorce attorney Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. Attorney Bacalis has helped many people respond successfully to divorce petitions, secure a favorable outcome in their divorce, and go on to thrive after their divorce is finalized. Call 817-498-4105 to schedule a free consultation and learn more. 




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