I was blindsided by divorce papers. How do I respond?
Jeff Hughes J.D. | January 31, 2014
– from Sandra H. in Waukesha, WI
I was rather blindsided with divorce papers. How do I respond?
Family Law Attorney Response:
First off, I’m sorry that you’re going through this. It must be difficult for you and your family. Thank you for allowing us the first chance to soothe some of the stress and get you a little information about the divorce process in Wisconsin. First and foremost, if you have been blindsided with divorce papers, it is good to note that Wisconsin is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that as long as one spouse testifies that the marriage has dissolved beyond repair, that the divorce will most likely be granted. So, in most cases, even if one spouse doesn’t want the divorce, the court will usually grant the divorce.
Next – it is vital that you respond with a written response and counterclaim no later than 20 days from the date you received the divorce papers. To do this, your response should be sent to the court and your spouse’s attorney. You could also send a copy to your spouse but it is usually better to send/fax it their attorney. The reason it’s important that you ensure that this document was received, if the court were not to get it – simply stated, a default judgment would be filed against you.
That should help you respond to a divorce. But make sure that you act in a timely fashion. Be organized and keep copies of all of your paperwork. But also consider finding and hiring a divorce attorney you trust. You don’t want to go through the divorce process alone. It can be difficult enough going through the emotional stress on your own but the added stress your ex's family could add on top of that if they tried to get involved could make it even worse . If you're uneducated on certain aspects involving child or spousal support, or asset division – could result in you not getting treated fairly or keeping your fair share.