What to do if I am served with divorce papers

The discussion that follows is from the standpoint of the spouse filing for dissolution of marriage in Washington, designated in the court documents as the ‘petitioner.’ If you are the spouse who is served with divorce papers, the process is the same as outlined below, but you are designated as the ‘respondent.’ If you receive a divorce summons and petition for dissolution filed by your spouse you should speak with a qualified Washington family law attorney immediately about protecting your rights. The way you respond to the petition can affect the rest of your case. You should ensure that you are advised of, and understand, your options regarding your property, assets, and children. Review the summons and petition carefully, and discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney. You usually have 20 days to respond to the petition. Do not procrastinate. Consider the time it will take you to hire an attorney, review the petition, locate paperwork and records, and complete any other tasks involved in preparing your response to the petition and filing it with the Washington court. It is important that you meet court deadlines.

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