Divorce is generally an emotionally driven event in most people’s lives. This is particularly true when the decision to end the marriage is not yours. It’s easy to want to avoid dealing with the divorce process at all costs. You may even want to ignore the divorce papers that your spouse served you. The marriage can’t really end if you don’t sign on the dotted line, right?
Not necessarily. Ignoring the fact that your spouse has filed a petition for divorce may delay the process, but it will not necessarily stop it from going forward. In fact, if you choose to ignore the divorce papers it could do much more harm than good. It is in your best interest to remain involved in your divorce, even if you are not happy about the split.
Contested v. Uncontested Divorce Proceedings
A divorce process involves both spouses. The spouse that files the petition for divorce is called the petition. The spouse that gets served with the divorce papers is called the respondent. The divorce will unfold depending on how the respondent reacts once they have been served with the papers. Most divorces unfold in one of two ways:
- Contested Divorce: A contested divorce refers to a proceeding where the respondent does not agree with all or some of the terms of the split. This may include issues such division of property, custody of the children, and spousal support obligations. As the respondent, it is your duty to make it clear that you contest the divorce. The best way to do this is to file an answer to the divorce papers with the court. In the answer, you will classify your case as a contested divorce. This is why it is important not to ignore the divorce papers.
- Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce happens in one of two situations: 1) the respondent does not sign or respond to the divorce papers, or 2) the respondent agrees to all the terms without issue. In uncontested divorce proceedings, you lose the right to negotiate for terms that you believe are in your best interest. Again, that is why it is important not to ignore divorce papers.
Reasons Why You Should Sign the Divorce Papers
Divorce proceedings are usually complicated, even if you have been married for only a short time. The reason is that a judge will want to see that you have fully addressed important issues that impact the divorce. These issues, commonly known “terms” of the divorce, include:
- Division and allocation of property
- Child custody
- Child support
Call an Experienced Central Valley Divorce Attorney
If you are involved in a divorce proceeding, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options with respect to your divorce proceeding.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley divorce attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or (559) 449-1447, or complete our online form.