Maybe it came as a surprise. Perhaps it was expected. In any case, if you have been served papers for a divorce in California, you have decisions to make and a lot to figure out. By understanding the process, you can get through this difficult time and start your new life.
Here are some quick questions and answers:
If I have been served with divorce papers, do I have to respond? You are not legally required to respond. Not responding is called a “true default.” Bear in mind, though, that if you choose not to respond, you may be giving up your rights. However, if you already have an agreement with your spouse, you do not have to respond because you and your spouse have come to terms, in writing and notarized, on the division of marital property and debt, child support, custody and visitation. This is called “default with agreement.”
How long do I have before I must respond? You must respond within 30 days from the date you were served with the Summons and Petition for divorce.
Do I need a lawyer? A divorce attorney is there to help you protect your rights: your financial security, your right to spend time with your children and how much support you will owe or receive. If you have been served with divorce papers, your lawyer will go over them with you to ensure that you understand all the issues being addressed. It’s important that you are comfortable with your decision, have had your legal options explained to you, and have a skilled California divorce attorney to protect your interests and future.
Choosing the Right Lawyer in Hollister, Monterey, Gilroy, and Surrounding Areas
You have accepted the papers and have concluded that it is in your best interest to have an attorney. Whether you want somebody to review the petition or feel you will need legal representation, it is essential to choose a lawyer who will be a strong advocate for you. Look for the following:
An experienced divorce lawyer: Just as you wouldn’t hire a carpenter to do electrical work, you should look for an attorney who has deep experience with California divorce law to guide you through the process
Someone who is responsive: Even a straightforward divorce is an emotional roller-coaster ride. Look for a lawyer who will respond to your questions and concerns in a timely manner.
An attorney who is willing to do what is necessary: Find out if your lawyer is willing to help you find amicable (and less expensive) alternatives and is a capable litigator who will fight for you if necessary.
A positive step in ensuring effective, efficient legal help is to have all your paperwork in order. This includes bank statements, income tax returns, mortgages and loan documents, insurance policies, proof of income, medical and credit card bills, property tax statements, appraisals, stock portfolios, and pension or retirement account statements. This is information that is required by the court. By having everything together and being able to supply it to your attorney in an organized way, you can keep your legal fees down.
Contact a Knowledgeable Monterey and Hollister Divorce Attorney
If you have been served with divorce papers, Giuliano Law can guide you through each step, make sure that deadlines are met and help protect your rights. Please contact us or call our office at (831) 372-4003 to discuss your concerns and needs.