Being served divorce papers can be shocking. Even if you knew your marriage was unsteady, you might not have realized it had come to the point of divorce. Many people in Michigan find themselves in this position every day. When they are served divorce papers, they do not know what to do or what to expect next. If you have been served, the first step you should take is to hire a divorce attorney who can help you through the process. In the meantime, the steps you should take are listed below.
The Complaint for Divorce
If you have been served divorce papers, it is called the Complaint for Divorce. This document states that the marital relationship has broken down, and there is no likelihood that the marital bonds can be restored. The Complaint for Divorce begins the divorce process in Michigan. After receiving the Complaint, the steps you take are crucial, so you are protected throughout the process.
After receiving the Complaint, you will have a chance to answer any allegations made by your spouse. If you were served the Complaint personally, you have 21 days from the date you were served. If you received the Complaint through the mail, or you were out of the state at the time, you have 28 days from the date you were served to answer the Complaint.
Sometimes, spouses file for divorce in the heat of the moment. Or, they realize that there is a chance to restore the marital relationship from their perspective, and so, they change their mind. By that time, though, the spouse that was served often wants to continue on with the divorce. To protect this right, a Counter-Complaint should be filed after you are served divorce papers. This allows you to continue with the divorce case, even if your spouse changes his or her mind. If you do not file a Counter-Complaint, you will have to refile and pay the filing fee again.
The discovery phase of a divorce proceeding allows each side to request information from the other party. This can include financial documents and even depositions to acquire sworn testimony before the two sides enter into negotiations.
Mediation is not right for every divorce situation, but many divorce cases can be settled during mediation. During this process, each side meets with a mediator who will help the spouses discuss the issues involved in the divorce and come to a final agreement.
Consent Judgment of Divorce or Trial
When all of the issues involved in a divorce are settled during mediation, a Consent Judgment of Divorce is drafted, and each party is required to sign it. This is then filed with the court, and a judge must approve it and sign the Judgment as an Order. The Order will contain certain instructions from the judge that each party must do or refrain from doing.
If the divorce is not settled during mediation, the case will go to trial, and a judge will make the final ruling on all terms of the divorce.
After You are Served, Our Michigan Divorce Lawyers can Help
Receiving divorce papers from your spouse is always a traumatic and upsetting time, even if you suspected that is where the marriage was headed. The steps to take next are also not easy, but a Clinton Township divorce lawyer can help. If you have been served, or you want to file for divorce, call us at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. today. We will walk you through the entire process and give you the best chance of receiving the fair settlement you deserve.