UNEXPECTEDLY SERVED WITH DIVORCE PAPERS. DON’T VIOLATE AUTO RESTRAINING ORDER! WHAT TO DO NEXT?
“I got served with divorce papers. What am I supposed to do? Are there any deadlines to respond? What forms am I supposed to use to respond? What I can and cannot do.”
Almost everyone has many questions and no one can be totally prepared for this moment. Below you will find some answers to your questions.
Most likely you have been served with the following documents:
1. Summons (form FL-110);
2. Petition for Legal Separation or Dissolution or Nullity of Marriage (form FL-100);
3. Venue Declaration (form D-049);
4. UCCJEA (form FL-105), if you have minor children; and
5. Proof of Service of Summons (form FL-115).
The most crucial step is to timely file a response to the Petition.
You must file your response at the court within 30 calendar days from the day the Summons and Petition are served on you and have a copy of the response served on the petitioner. Mark this deadline on your calendar and do not miss it as you can face very severe consequences.
If you forgot the date when you were served with divorce papers you can look it up in the Proof of Service of Summons (form FL-115).
The following forms have to be used to respond to the Petition: Response (form FL-120) and UCCJEA (form FL-105), if you have minor children. Also, you will be required to pay a court fee in the amount of $435 unless you are qualified for a fee waiver.
Forms can be found at:
Additionally, please carefully read page 2 of the Summons (form FL-110). It states that both parties are restrained from doing the following:
1. Removing the minor children of the parties from the state or applying for a new or replacement passport for those minor children without the prior written consent of the other party or an order of the court;
2. Cashing, borrowing against, canceling, transferring, disposing of, or changing the beneficiaries of any insurance or other coverage, including life, health, automobile, and disability, held for the benefit of the parties and their minor children;
3. Transferring, encumbering, hypothecating, concealing, or in any was disposing of any property, real or personal, whether community, quasi-community, or separate, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life; and
4. Creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that effects the disposition of property subject to the transfer, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court. Before revocation of a nonproabte transfer can take effect or a right of survivorship to property can be eliminated, notice of the change must be filed and served on the other party.
You must notify each other of any proposed extraordinary expenditures at least five business days prior to incurring these extraordinary expenditures and account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after these restraining orders are effective. However, you may use community property, quasi-community property or your own separate property to pay an attorney to help you or to pay court costs.
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