What Happens When You are Served with Divorce Papers?
For some couples, filing for divorce comes as no surprise, whereas for others it can come as a complete shock to be served with a petition for divorce. When processing the many emotions that come with divorce papers, it can be difficult to know what to do next. The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at theSingular Law Group are here to help you through this difficult process with top tier legal assistance. To learn more about how our office can help, call or contact us for a free case consultation.
Filing a Response
The first step after being served with divorce papers is to file aresponse with the court. A spouse has 20 days after being served, or 30 days if outside of the state, to file a response to the petition. If the spouse served is in agreement with all the terms proposed in the divorce petition, they can file a consent decree. This is also known as an uncontested divorce. However, if the spouse disagrees with any of the terms in the petition, such as matters of property distribution, child custody, alimony, or child support, the case is known as a contested divorce and will go to court.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In contested divorce cases, some courts in Arizona will first offer counseling to the couple. If that is rejected, they may order that the couple attempt to utilize alternative dispute resolution techniques, such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce, before using traditional litigation methods in front of a judge. Divorce mediation and related methods take place outside of court and use a third party neutral person to try and encourage compromise on issues outstanding in a divorce. With the help of legal counsel, divorce mediation has the potential to create a better foundation for future co-parenting as well as help resolve issues more quickly and cheaply than traditional methods. If a resolution can be agreed upon, the final settlement agreement is drafted and submitted to the court. However, if issues cannot be settled using alternative dispute resolution the case must go to trial.
Taking Issues to Trial
If alternative dispute resolution techniques are not successful, any remaining issues must be litigated in court. This means going through all the steps of a traditional trial in order to settle the issue. Each side will request discovery, which can include depositions, interrogatories, and requests to produce documents. The attorneys will ultimately take the issue to trial, presenting evidence, witness testimony, and making the best possible arguments for your case. In the end, the judge will determine the outcome of the issue, which is then incorporated into the final divorce agreement.
Talk to Our Office Now
If you have questions about the process of divorce after being served in the Phoenix area, the experienced attorneys at the Singular Law Group are here to help. Call the office orcontact us today to schedule a free consultation of your case.