Options to Respond to Divorce Papers


Often, filing for divorce in Pasadena is a mutual decision brought on by a prolonged conflict in the marital relationship. But if you find yourself served with divorce papers unexpectedly, you might be wondering how to respond.

California law gives you four options if your spouse serves you with divorce papers.

  1. Do nothing. If you ignore the papers, your spouse will be granted everything that he or she has asked for. This is called a true default and means that you are giving up your right to participate in the case. In most circumstances, this is not in your best interests. Ignoring the divorce papers puts you at a disadvantage when dividing marital assets and determining important issues like child support and child custody.
  2. Obtain a written notarized agreement between you and your spouse that outlines what you've decided in regards to the terms of your settlement. This is called default with agreement. Because this option avoids the services of an attorney, it's a fairly inexpensive way to divorce. However, it might not be suitable for couples with a fair amount of marital assets or those who have children together.
  3. File a response with the court where you agree with your spouse about the major issues of your divorce. This is known as an uncontested divorce.
  4. File a response with the court where you disagree about one or more issues. This is a known as a contested divorce because the judge will need to decide the terms of your divorce. You can't contest a divorce because you want to stay married to your spouse, however. A contested divorce must involve disagreements about the specific terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets or the payment of spousal support.

You have 30 days from the time you are served with divorce papers to make your decision as to what type of response you will give. You should speak to an experienced attorney before filing a response to ensure that you are fully aware of all of your options.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you need legal representation during your divorce. Our Pasadena divorce attorneys are eager to advocate for your best interests as you're going through the divorce process.