What to Do If You Are Served with Divorce Papers

September 14, 2022

In many divorce cases, both parties know that a divorce is on the horizon, but in some cases, one person may have no idea the other party wants a divorce. Regardless of the situation, in almost every case, being served with divorce papers can be a hard pill to swallow. In New Jersey, to begin divorce proceedings, your lawyer must prepare your divorce complaint and file it with the court before divorce papers can be served, so there is proof that one spouse is suing the other for divorce.

Being served with divorce papers means that an official court document is delivered to you, stating that your spouse is suing you for divorce and setting forth what your spouse wants in the divorce. Officially called a Summons and a Complaint for Divorce, this summons says the court has the power to hear and determine the case.

After filing a Complaint for Divorce in New Jersey, you need to serve the papers, along with a summons, to your spouse within 10 days after filing the divorce papers. Under New Jersey law, the defendant must be personally served and hand-delivered a copy of the divorce paperwork, or you may agree for the divorce papers to be served to you through an attorney.

3 Things to Do If You Are Served with Divorce Papers

  1. Read the Papers

A divorce summons requires you to respond to the court within a certain amount of time and that you serve your spouse with a copy of your response. If you ignore the divorce summons and miss the deadline, the court may take this as a signal that you will not contest the divorce and that you agree to all terms in the summons. The divorce can then be granted to your spouse by default, including all requested terms.

Make sure you find the response due date listed in the summons and consider it a strict deadline. In New Jersey, you have 35 days after being served with the divorce complaint to file a response, or the court will determine a default judgment.

  1. Seek Support

Divorce is not easy. Telling close family and friends about your divorce can provide the support you need and referrals for divorce counselors, child psychologists, attorneys, financial advisors, and other resources and support you might need to help navigate a divorce.

  1. Consult an Attorney

If you’ve been served with divorce papers, you do have options. Some couples decide to call off their divorce, others battle it out in court, and others choose to negotiate a divorce that works for them and their family. Consulting an experienced attorney will help you understand your options, including:

  • The type of divorce you want
  • The costs of hiring an attorney and divorce litigation
  • Alternative options and resources

At The GC Lawn Firm, we understand firsthand how difficult divorce can be, and our New Jersey attorneys have considerable experience with various divorce situations. No matter how complex or challenging your unique situation is, our team is prepared to help you through every step of the legal process. We take the time to understand the details of your circumstances before proceeding with a solution that’s right for you, and our goal is to help you find the most effective solution so you can start moving forward with your life.

To schedule an initial consultation, contact us by calling (201) 488-1825.



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250 Moonachie Rd, Ste. 200, Moonachie, NJ.

(201) 488-1825

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