Divorce builds over time. Some spouses, however, still feel blindsided when they get served with divorce papers. What do you do when this happens to you?
The Divorce Process
When your spouse files a complaint for divorce, he or she has 120 days to serve you the papers. In general, the law states that the courts cannot serve the divorce papers, and leaves it up to the spouses to hand deliver the documents.
Your spouse needs to make sure you get the divorce papers within 120 days upon filing. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the case.
While this sounds like an opportunity for you to resolve matters, to try to work out differences with your spouse, a divorce complaint typically indicates slim chances of reconciliation. Ignoring the complaint, on the other hand, isn’t going to solve anything. It may even make things worse, driving further resentment from your spouse.
Responding to the Divorce
If you live in Colorado, you have 21 days to file a response to the complaint. Independent filing requires your spouse to hire a process server because Colorado law also states that a neutral party has to serve the papers. If the divorce, however, is mutual, you don’t have to use the process server.
Once you get the divorce papers, you need to read the complaint, and determine what your spouse wants. Legal guidance and representation from an experienced family attorney in Colorado would help you go through this initial stage in the divorce.
You may decide to agree on everything your spouse is asking for, or contradict everything in the document. In either case, your family lawyer can move the process along and look out for your best interests.
If you’re in military service, you may ask the court to delay the proceedings because it could interfere with your duties. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows men and women on active duty to ask the court for a 90-day postponement, and not one day longer.
You will feel a range of emotions when a process server hands you divorce papers. It’s best not to react instantly. Keep your emotions in check. Reduce the anxiety and confusion with legal help from an experienced lawyer. And consider a peaceful resolution to the dissolution of your marriage.