Shock. Surprise. Anger. All of these feelings are very common in people who have been surprised with divorce papers. You may have known that your marriage was not going well, but a process server showing up at your house with a Petition for Divorce might still have been an unpleasant, unexpected event.

Even if you were completely caught off guard when your spouse served you with divorce papers, it is essential to respond carefully and thoughtfully. Rushing angrily into the divorce process will do far more harm than good, even if your anger is completely justified. Begin with understanding the legal terms of divorce, dates for responding to your spouse’s petition, and other important details. Then work with an experienced Texas divorce attorney to develop a strategy for managing your divorce process.

My Spouse Served Me With Divorce Papers. What Do I Need to Do First?

The first thing you need to do is understand that you are now the “respondent” and your spouse is the “petitioner.” Neither the respondent nor the petitioner are more advantageous but it is important to know who you are so you can understand the divorce papers in front of you.

Next, read through the papers thoroughly. Find out whether a judge has issued a temporary restraining order. See what your spouse is asking for. Make sure you take note of the deadline by which you need to file your response.

Now start looking for divorce attorneys. Choose an attorney who has experience, who understands the details of your case, who seems to care about the outcome of your case, and whose demeanor and divorce strategy you like. Depending on your case, you might want to take a peaceable route using mediation and negotiation, or an aggressive route involving litigation. Your attorney should offer you the pros and cons of both options and support your choice.

Responding to a Divorce Petition

Once you know exactly what your spouse’s divorce petition contains and you have a strategy for how you want to handle your divorce case, you need to file your answer and your counter-petition. Your counter-petition tells a judge what orders you want in your case and lets the court know you are interested in participating in the divorce process.

If you do not respond, the divorce will still go on without you, but your spouse is likely to be granted the things they are asking for as long as they follow the law, including issues of child custody and financial division. Working with an attorney can ensure you obtain a favorable outcome while presenting yourself to the court in the best light possible.

Meet with a Fort Worth Divorce Attorney

If you have been served with divorce papers, you are probably feeling a wide range of emotions. Before acting, make sure you meet with an experienced Dallas divorce attorney with Clark Law Group. Your actions now can have a significant impact on the rest of your divorce and you want to make sure you are responding from a place of strength and surety. Call us today at 469-717-6514 to schedule a comprehensive consultation.