The process of divorce starts when one spouse files a petition with the court. The other spouse is subsequently served with divorce papers and is given a limited period of time to file a response. The process will continue either with the couple negotiating a divorce settlement that they present to the court or with the divorce being litigated. The judge will either ratify the divorce settlement that the couple has reached (give it legal power) or will determine an appropriate settlement if the couple cannot agree. The judge will then legally dissolve the marriage.
In some cases, however, the divorce process does not work this smoothly and efficiently. Problems can arise if you do not respond to divorce papers. It is important to understand exactly what happens if you don’t respond- and why it is a very bad idea to ignore court papers that come to your home. A Phoenix, AZ divorce lawyer at Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help you to respond appropriately when you are served with divorce papers and can guide you as you take all the necessary legal steps to end your marital union. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how a lawyer can represent you.
What Happens if You Do Not Respond to Divorce Papers?
Some people are under the mistaken belief that they can prevent a divorce from going forward by not responding when they are served with divorce papers. The sad reality, however, is that this is simply not true. If you do not respond to divorce papers, the case can continue without your input and a default divorce will occur.
When you neglect to respond to papers, your spouse can go to court and move the case forward without your input. Your spouse can argue for his or her preferred division of property and division of parenting time. Your spouse can ask the judge for the marital property that he or she wants and can ask for spousal support. The court will not necessarily do every single thing that your husband or wife acts since there are laws in Arizona that are applied to distribute property, determine support and determine custody issues. However, you will lose the chance to make an argument for your own preferred divorce outcome if you do not respond to divorce papers. You won’t stop the divorce and your marriage will be dissolved- you just won’t get the chance to speak up for yourself.
If the divorce process is already underway and you are asked to provide papers or respond to a request made by the court, you also need to ensure that you comply. If you do not respond to a direct court order, you can be held in contempt of court. This becomes an issue in some divorces, such as when a court orders you to provide financial information that you may not want to share.
An experienced Phoenix, AZ divorce lawyer at Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help you to understand your rights and make smart and strategic choices about responding to divorce papers. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.