If You Don’t Respond to Divorce Papers

legal gavel on top of divorce papersDivorce is sometimes unexpected and rarely ever pleasant. If you’re served with divorce papers, whether you expect them or not, you may experience any number of feelings, including a desire to not respond. There are very few occasions in which you can refuse to respond to being served—if the papers are given to you, but not formally served, you may be able to avoid respond. In general, if you are served, you must respond, or face legal consequences.

It is Best to Seek Legal Advice and Respond

In Florida, if you are served with papers for a dissolution of marriage properly, you have twenty days to respond. You can accept or contest what is in those papers, file a motion to dismiss the petition, or file a counter petition. Overall, you must respond.

If you don’t respond to a petition for divorce in Florida by the court’s deadline and according to its regulations, you could end up with a default judgment against you. This means that you could be left unable to defend yourself against any claims your spouse may have made. In a default divorce judgement, your spouse can request that a judge grant all demands made in the initial divorce papers. If you don’t respond to the initial divorce petition, you lose the right to challenge those demands. Thus, all decision in the divorce can be made without your input.

This also depends upon aspects of the divorce, however. If certain issues of alimony and child support arise, then you may be entitled to say no matter what. This does not mean you can go on ignoring the divorce petition; you will have to respond in some way.

If you have been served, don’t wait. Contact us at Miller Law and let us help you determine how best to respond.

 

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