If you have been served with “divorce papers,” the very first page of paperwork will say “SUMMONS” near the top. The Summons will be attached to some other papers… either its a “Summons with Notice,” or maybe its a “Summons with Verified Complaint.” Either way, you need to respond, and you need to respond quickly. If you don’t respond within twenty (20) days of receiving these papers, you will be in default.
“Default”: what does that mean? It means that whatever your soon-to-be-ex-spouse asked for in that Summons with Notice or Summons with Verified Complaint… the house, custody of the kids, spousal maintenance, the savings account…. whatever… it means they might get all those things “by default.” So don’t wait a month before calling a lawyer. Ignoring the papers won’t make them go away, but it could make your car (or motorcycle or boat or savings account) vanish.
Most lawyers will meet with potential clients for an initial consultation, for a set flat fee. When I meet with prospective clients who have been served with a Summons, I will often send a letter to opposing counsel stating that you and I met, that you are in the process of hiring me, and asking for an enlargement of time to answer the Summons.
If you are served with a Summons in an action of divorce, contact us to schedule a meeting. We charge a flat rate for initial consultations so that we can meet, discuss your case, and talk about a strategy. (585) 485-0025