Served with Divorce Papers?

In Florida, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (with or without children) must be filed with the clerk of court to initiate a divorce.  Once the petition is filed, it must be served on the other party by sheriff's deputy or certified private process server.

It is important to understand the documents you have received and to know how to proceed.

First of all, don't panic, best decisions are made with a cool head.  Begin to read the documents you received as soon as you can.  Look for the title of the document (usually in bold underlined ALL CAPS text) centered on the top half of the first page.  Make sure you were actually served with divorce papers.  Find a quiet place to read the documents.

Keep a divorce journal and calendar

Here you can keep track of important dates and relevant information, which could be important to you later.  Begin by calendaring your deadline to answer the petition for dissolution of marriage.  Generally, the time to respond to a new case (petition or complaint) is 20 days from the date of service. The only way to know is by reading the summons attached to the petition for dissolution of marriage.  It is important to abide by the summons requirements.

'Google' it and learn more about dissolution of marriage in Florida

It's is an old cliche I know, but 'in this day and age' a wealth of information browsing the web and it is free.  Florida Court website and many counties' court's websites offer many resources (including in some cases forms and forms clinic) for individual who wish to represent themselves in court in a divorce or family law case.

Many Family law attorneys offer a free consultation

Start looking for a divorce lawyer even if you plan to represent yourself, to discuss your specific case and your legal rights.  Schedule one or more initial consultations with a Florida divorce and family lawyer to evaluate your legal options.  If you plan to hire an attorney to represent you in court in a divorce or family law matter, finding a divorce attorney you can communicate with easily will make a divorce more manageable.

An initial consultation should be in person between you and the attorney, and it affords both of you an opportunity to interview each other.

Most importantly, file your answer before the deadline listed on the summons

This website is not a complete answer every question, as the answers would be different in every case and set of circumstances.  Make sure to file something with the clerk of court in response to the documents you received.  Directions on how to respond are usually listed on the summons.  Even if no response is filed, the court process will continue.

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