What Happens If You Don’t to Respond to Divorce Papers?
Did you just receive divorce papers from your spouse? If so, it is normal to feel frustrated, stressed out, and all around confused. You currently have a few different options. One of those options is to do nothing. You could simply fail to respond to the Petition for Dissolution (Divorce) of Marriage. Please be aware, however: This is the worst thing you can do.
Not only will your rights not be protected, but you might not even be notified as to when your divorce hearing is actually taking place. The entire legal process could take place without your input. By not responding to divorce papers, you are setting yourself up to lose by default to your spouse. The Florida family law judge may simply give your spouse everything that they want, and you will not even be able to give your side of the story. Your financial and parental rights will not be protected.
How to Respond to Divorce Papers: Know Your Options
- Answer the Petition
Once you receive divorce papers from your spouse, you should get started on filing an answer. In your answer you can respond to all of the arguments made by your spouse in their divorce petition. If necessary, you can even challenge their grounds for divorce. Though, it is important to focus on clearly articulating what you want to get out of the divorce. It is recommended that you seek legal guidance when drafting your answer. You should not go through this complicated process all alone.
- File a Counterclaim
You also have the legal right to file a counterclaim to the divorce petition. In your counterclaim, you can make your own independent request for a divorce, based on whichever grounds you deem to be appropriate. Additionally, you will be able to make your own request for relief regarding any relevant issues, from property division to child custody. Once again, if you are considering filing a counterclaim, you should be represented by a qualified Central Florida divorce attorney.
You Can Still Reach an Out-of-Court Settlement
If you file an answer or a counterclaim, that does not mean that the terms of your divorce will need to be decided by a Florida family law court. You still have the ability to reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. All you are doing at this point is ensuring that your spouse does not get to dictate the terms of the marital separation. By responding to divorce papers, you are preserving your legal rights. From here, you can work with an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer who can represent you during any settlement negotiations. You should not get any less than your fair share.
Contact Our Central Florida Family Law Team Today
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A., we have deep experience handling complex divorce cases. If you have been served with a divorce petition in Florida, you need to respond. For the top quality legal representation that you deserve, please call our Orlando office today at 407-521-7171 to schedule your fully confidential divorce consultation.