I was just served - now what?
Lawyer's secret: When a spouse is served with divorce papers, they should not read the contents (and not hire the first lawyer they meet).
Being served with divorce papers is generally very emotional. While some spouses talk about getting a divorce, when a spouse is served, he or she usually had no idea that their spouse had taken the next step and filed the case. Getting served can also prove to be an embarrassing event, if the spouse is served in the presence of family or co-workers.
Sometimes, spouses attempt to avoid being served, when they know someone is about to serve them with papers. The best approach to being served, is to simply and politely accept the papers from whomever is serving them. Usually the person serving papers is a Sheriff's police officer or licensed private investigator. It doesn't benefit a spouse's interest to avoid the process server, or being rude to the process server. If anything, it could hurt your case. Accept the papers and go from there.
Once you receive the papers, do not read the contents. Let me repeat that, DO NOT READ THE CONTENTS. The allegations contained with the papers (more formally called the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage), are usually generic, but some attorneys do put hurtful allegations within the documents despite the fact that making those sorts of allegations are unnecessary. These initial allegations usually get the best of someone's emotions, not knowing the precise legal implication of the allegations. For this reason, there is no benefit to you reading the allegations, unless you're looking to be upset for a day or two, until a lawyer convinces you that the allegations usually have no impact in the outcome of your case.
While being served is scary, emotional, and will cause a good amount of fear, DO NOT be driven by instinct and run to a lawyer's arms. Take your time with the selection process of retaining an attorney as this decision will largely impact what happens in your case.
Call Paul Nordini for your free same-day phone consultation.
Office: (630) 416-6600. Cell: (630) 306-6300