What do I do if I’ve been served divorce papers in New Jersey?

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The majority of couples seeking to dissolve their marriage are aware that a divorce is imminent. However, in some divorces, one party may be blindsided and shocked by their partner’s desire to end the marriage. Overwhelmed by the realization that there is no hope for reconciliation, many people are unsure of how to proceed once served divorce papers. The way you handle yourself early on during this complex legal process can play a significant role in how successful your divorce is. Therefore, there is no need to panic as a qualified Ocean County Contested Divorce Attorney can help you take the right steps after being served divorce papers to ensure you are prepared for what comes next. Continue to follow along to learn the steps you should take after being served divorce papers. 

What steps should I take after being served divorce papers in New Jersey?

Anyone who wishes to dissolve their marriage must file a divorce petition with the court. This petition notifies the appropriate parties of their desire to terminate the marriage. Once a divorce petition has been filed, the petitioner (the spouse who filed for divorce) is required to serve their partner with divorce papers. This action initiates the divorce process. The most effective step you can take after being served divorce papers is to retain a seasoned divorce attorney. Having the right legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce. By retaining an attorney early on in the process, you are setting yourself up for success as they will help you navigate the intricacies of this legal process.

After you have hired appropriate legal representation, you will need to reply to the divorce papers. It is imperative to note that you must respond to the Summons and Divorce Complaint within a certain timeframe. In New Jersey, you have 35 days from the date you receive the papers to file an answer with the court. If you fail to respond within this timeframe you will relinquish your rights and risk a default judgment. A default judgment results in the court granting your partner’s request. To avoid a default judgment, you must file your response within the prescribed timeframe.

Moreover, after responding to the Divorce Complaint, you should file a counterclaim. A counterclaim is a decree that ensures that if your partner changes their mind about divorce, you will not have to refile. The process will continue regardless of their decision. From here, it is beneficial to begin collecting relevant documents for your initial hearing to establish critical information such as your financial status and contributions to the marriage. Ultimately, if you have been served divorce papers, you should hire a skilled attorney as soon as possible who can guide you through this complex process.

If you have recently been served divorce papers, contact one of our trusted and adept team members. Our firm is prepared to help you protect your hard-earned assets. Allow our firm to represent your interests today.