The news that your spouse wants a divorce is often devastating. The situation is only made worse if you don’t know how to respond to the petition of the dissolution for the marriage. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is to contact a divorce attorney to help you along the way.
What’s Your Role?
The spouse who files for the divorce is called the petitioner. The spouse who receives the request from the petitioner is the defendant. When you are the defendant, you have the responsibility to file an answer to the request that is made. In the state of Florida, you usually have 20 days from the time you receive the petition to file your response.
At this point, you have several options. Get to know how you can respond to these papers here.
Declining to Answer
Some people are surprised to find out they don’t have to respond to the divorce papers they receive. If you decide to decline to respond, then you are “defaulting” on these proceedings. If the respondent defaults on the divorce, they will not take part in the divorce process. The petitioner is going to meet with the judge, and most – usually all – the demands that are made by this person will be accepted.
Give an Answer
When you answer the petition, it doesn’t mean that you are just acknowledging the divorce request you have received from the petitioner. You have the right to outline the aspects of the divorce papers that you agree with and the ones you don’t agree with. You can also create an answer that includes other matters that need to be factored into the demise of the union. In some cases, responses even include a counter-petition, where you offer your own marriage dissolution plan.
The answer isn’t the only thing that you must provide when you are served divorce papers in Florida. You also have to submit your financial affidavit within a period of 45 days after you have been served that outlines all of your expenses and all the monthly income you have. For child support proceedings, there will be more documentation required, including the UCCJEA – Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act – Affidavit and a guidelines worksheet that will help to further outline the responsibilities and the rights of both parents.
Get in Touch with a Professional
If you have recently received divorce papers from your spouse, you need to decide what you will do. In some cases, you will do nothing, but should understand if this is the choice you may, you have no voice in what goes on during the divorce.
If you aren’t sure how to answer or how to handle the situation, reach out to a divorce attorney in Florida. An attorney can help to review your situation, the divorce papers you were served and help you make the right decision regarding how you answer the papers. To learn more, contact our legal team at Lewert Law, LLC by calling (561) 544-6861.