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What should I do if I am served divorce papers?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2024 | Divorce |

Many people may be served divorce papers around this time of year since January is a month known for its high number of divorce filings.

Receiving divorce papers can be devastating, leaving you feeling shocked, confused and scared of what comes next. Even if you and your spouse were separated, knowing they want to officially end the marriage can be a crushing blow.

You are likely feeling a lot of emotions during this time but there are practical steps you must take after getting divorce papers.

Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning someone does not need to provide specific grounds for wanting a divorce. They only need to file a divorce complaint asserting that there has been a breakdown of the marriage.

Never ignore the complaint

Read the divorce complaint thoroughly. You must file a response within a certain deadline and the complaint will detail the exact requirements for filing this response and any next steps you must take.

You may want to throw the complaint away or ignore it, believing that this will prevent the divorce from happening but this is not true. Ignoring divorce papers is one of the worst mistakes people make.

If you do not respond to the complaint, you might lose your chance to contest any of the terms. The complaint usually states what your spouse is requesting in terms of property division, alimony or other matters.

Not responding to the complaint could be viewed by a court as your agreement to the terms. For example, if your spouse requests $1,000 a month in alimony and the house, failing to respond to the complaint might mean you agree to those requests.

Respond within the deadline

Provide your response within the deadline and make sure it complies with all legal requirements. If you are not sure what these are, consult with a professional.

Once your response is filed, begin gathering documents. There are various documents you will need during different steps of the process. Learning what you need and when can increase your chance of an efficient divorce process.