Have you been served divorce papers? If so, you may be in shock right now or perhaps you have been mentally preparing for this moment because you knew it was coming. So, what do you do next? What happens if you ignore the divorce petition?
If you do nothing and do not respond to your spouse’s divorce petition, your spouse will receive what’s called a “default divorce.” This means that by ignoring the divorce petition, you are waiving your right to have any kind of say about your own divorce.
Should You Do Nothing?
Before you even consider doing nothing, sit down and read through the divorce papers filed by your spouse very carefully. This is critical because whatever your husband or wife is asking for, if you ignore the petition, he or she is probably going to get it. Meaning, the judge will most likely sign off on it, and incorporate your spouse’s wishes into the official court order-divorce decree.
As divorce attorneys, we do not recommend a default divorce. In almost all situations, our clients prefer to be a part of the decision-making process, especially when there are minor children involved or assets to be divided.
When your spouse files for divorce, you’ll want to negotiate an agreement that addresses:
- How your assets will be divided;
- How your personal belongings will be divided;
- How debt will be divided;
- Child support where applicable;
- Child custody and visitation if you have children; and
- Whether one of you will be paying spousal support.
Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?
We highly recommend having a divorce lawyer guide you through the divorce process. When you try to negotiate the above issues, you may agree on them all, or you may agree on some of them, but not others.
Whenever you sign a divorce agreement, it’s important that you fully understand what you’re agreeing to. Child support, for example, involves specific legal requirements, so it’s important that you’re following the rules, and it can be hard to know what these rules are without talking to a lawyer.
If you have any questions about your divorce agreement, or if you’re not sure what is in your children’s best interests, you absolutely want to enlist the services of an attorney. Not only that, but it’s always best to contact a lawyer before signing anything.
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to meet with a San Diego divorce attorney for free.