Though most people see divorce coming before any papers are filed, it certainly happens when one spouse is caught unaware. The person may have known that things were bad, but not understand the full extent of their partner's unhappiness. In these cases, it can be a shock to suddenly be served with divorce papers and it may take some time to accept it. In these situations, it may be tempting to simply ignore divorce papers and just try to put them and the divorce itself out of your mind. Is this an option?
Once you have been served with divorce papers, it is extremely important to understand that a ball has been set into motion. From the moment you were officially served, time begins ticking and your time to respond to those papers is rapidly counting down. The purpose of the divorce papers is to notify you of the divorce and to provide you the opportunity to respond – in other words, to agree or disagree with the requests and allegations made by the other side.
After the divorce papers are filed, it is no longer just an abstract concept to be discussed between you and your spouse. The Family Cour is now involved and the legal process has begun. This isn't like ignoring your spouse's request to take out the trash, because if you choose to ignore divorce papers, it can have very serious negative consequences. Refusing to respond may mean that you end up divorced on your spouse's terms, with you being forced to live with something that you probably will not like.
The bottom line is that you should never ignore divorce papers – even if you really don't want to get divorced. Simply pretending that the divorce isn't happening won't make it go away. Your ignoring it won't stop the divorce from happening, but will only make it more likely that your spouse gets what he/she is seeking. Instead of ignoring the paperwork, the first thing you should do after being served is to contact an experienced family law attorney, who can guide you through the difficult process. If you or someone you know are in this situation, you are invited to contact our office at (864) 598-9172 to request a consultation.