Were you minding your own business when suddenly a stranger walked up,
asked if you were indeed you, and then handed you a stack of divorce papers?
While this might seem like a farfetched scenario, this is actually how
many people learn that their spouse has decided to put an end to their
marriage. But no matter how you were given a petition of divorce, there
are a few steps you should always take to ensure you are responding to
When you are given a divorce petition, you should remember these steps and tips:
Decide quickly: The first thing you need to do is decide
how you are going to respond, and soon. In most divorce filings in Texas,
you only have 20 days to file your response. If you do not, the case defaults
in favor of the filer, your soon-to-be ex, and whatever divorce guidelines
they set in the petition could be accepted. Just in case, double-check
the answer form provided with the petition to see your actual response
deadline. Keep in mind that sending a response is useful even if you agree
entirely with the stipulations of the
Read carefully: But are you
sure you agree entirely with what has been outlined in the divorce petition?
This is not a document you should just peruse or give the onceover. If
you have a trusted divorce attorney, now is the time to get in contact
with them and ask them for professional assistance. Odds are your spouse
had a lawyer’s help when writing the petition so you should have
one when reviewing it.
Voicing your concerns: Realistically, you will have one or two issues, at least, with what your
spouse has determined to be the fair conclusion to your divorce. They
probably didn’t tip the scales in their favor to spite you but that
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t react accordingly and
contest them. Work with your family lawyer to create a thorough and coherent response
that states clearly what you agree with, what you don’t, and why.
You don’t necessarily need to get into the details of why you disagree
right now, you just need to say that you do.
Notarize: Stepping carefully is key to your divorce. To avoid any chance of confusion
over the legitimacy of your response, it helps to have it notarized and
then triplicated. You can probably find a notary public in the courthouse
you need to file the forms with anyway, so ask around there if it is a
service they offer.
File: Once you are satisfied with your response, you need to file it with the
court that received the request for the petition initially. When you are
filing it, ask them if you need to send a copy to your spouse as well.
In Texas, this is usually the norm and can also help move your divorce
along, so you should probably do this regardless of the court clerk’s answer.
At The Karenko Law Firm PLLC, our Galveston County divorce attorney has
been handling family law cases from start to finish for nearly
three decades. When it comes time to create and file your response to a divorce petition,
allow us to be your legal guides along the way. Call
409.515.7063 to schedule your
free case review today.