I have been served with divorce or modification papers; what should I do?
If you have been served with divorce or modification papers, you need to speak with an attorney about filing an answer right away. You have until the Monday next after 20 days from being served to file an answer.
What will happen if I do nothing?
If you do not file an answer, then after your answer period in the case of a divorce the expiration of 60 days from the date the suit for divorce was filed, the petitioner (filing party) can have a default final judgment entered against you. This means that if you do not file an answer after having been served, your spouse can get a divorce or final court order without you. Subject to certain limitations, the court can divide the community property of the spouses and award custody of children and child support without your input.
Failing to file an answer can also result in temporary orders being rendered against you.
Beware: Doing nothing after being served an Original Petition will not make it go away.
What else should I know about getting a divorce in Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe or Comal counties?
The court normally requires the parties to mediate before setting a contested divorce for a final hearing. This is a very beneficial requirement, because in the great majority of cases, a settlement can be reached at mediation, saving a great deal in both emotional and financial costs.
If you have children, even if you and your spouse are amicable, the court will require both parents to take a parenting course through an approved company. The class is designed to minimize the impact of divorce on children and can be taken in person or online.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an out-of-court process of alternative dispute resolution that is extremely effective in resolving civil cases, including divorce and custody issues, personal injury cases, contract disputes, property disputes and other types of litigation. The parties are frequently ordered by the court to attend mediation before a final hearing or their attorneys frequently choose to set up a mediation. This is a very effective way to settle cases with custom results and it can save you a great deal in attorney's fees and court costs.