Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Get Served With A Divorce Petition -What do You do Now?

I want to give a shout out to Massachusetts Divorce and Family Law Blog's What should I do if I am served with “divorce papers?” a shout out for inspiring this post.

First, service does not mean that you are handed the papers themselves. Indiana Trial Rules allow them to be left in a door. By the way, the person filing a divorce is a Petitioner. The person getting the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the Respondent.

Second, read what you have in your hand. The documents should include at a minimum:

  1. Summons
  2. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  3. Petition for Provisional hearing
  4. Notice of Hearing
  5. Appearance (even if filing pro se, there must be an Appearance).
There may also be a Temporary Restraining Order.

The Notice of Hearing tells you the date, time and place of the provisional hearing. If there are children, the provisional hearing determines temporary custody, child support, and parenting time. Other issues that might be heard at a provisional hearing are temporary maintenance and any restraining orders.

The Summons may say that you 20-23 days to file an Answer. Indiana law does not require an Answer filed for family law matters. For more on this, see my Family Law and Summonses.

What you need to do is to be at the provisional hearing. If you are not there, then the court can - and probably will- do what the opposing party asks.

Remember, if you want more information about retaining me for a case, please give me a call at 765-641-7906.

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