If your spouse has served you with divorce papers, it is natural to feel upset or overwhelmed, but that is not the time to act. Take your time to collect your thoughts and take a grip on your common sense before making any potentially consequential move.
Keep in mind that there are several divorce options in Fort Collins that you can be served with and that each may call for a different response. Read for four basic things you should consider doing if you are hit with divorce papers in Fort Collins, Colorado.
1. Understand the papers
Most of the information that you will find pretty useful during the divorce case is in the papers you receive. For one, you will be able to tell if the spouse has a divorce lawyer or they are handling the case alone. If they have a lawyer, the name of their firm will be somewhere in the first page.
Citation or summons will also be included in the papers. This is what tells you how long you have to formally respond to your spouse. In Colorado, the time frame is typically one month. Be sure to act within this period or else the court may grant your spouse everything they ask for in the complaint.
2. Hire an attorney
If after reading the papers you don’t wish to petition any of your spouse’s demands, there is no need to hire a lawyer. However, if you have any disagreements, which is the likeliest scenario, you might want to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side. Counsel is particularly necessary if your spouse has a lawyer as well. Some lawyers can be intimidating, and it is only wise that you are represented too to shun any form of exploitation. If you are on a tight budget, you can opt for law firms that consult with divorce clients on hourly basis.
3. Prepare your response
A month may seem like too much time to just give a response, but that’s not always the case. As time goes, you’re likely going to start accumulating paperwork from both your attorney and the court. Information from your lawyer may contain strategic information for the preparation of your responsive pleadings, so ensure your spouse doesn’t have access to them. Consider renting a safe deposit box for storage. Also, copy your financial documents and tax returns and secure them. If you have small items that may get lost during the case, prepare an inventory and keep it in the deposit box.
4. Hold your ground
If there are accusations of domestic violence, whether you are the accuser or the victim, don’t move out before consulting a lawyer. If you are parents to children who are yet to attain the age of 19 years or have not finished high school, again talk to your attorney. Leaving kids behind may come to haunt you during physical custody determination while taking them with you without the other spouse’s approval would be breaking Colorado divorce laws.