I received a summon for a divorce, but nothing has happened since. What am I supposed to do?

The first thing you have to do is serve and file an Answer to the Complaint.  This should be done within 20 days of service of the summon and complaint.  If the time to answer has passed, you or an attorney can request an extension of time to answer.  failure to answer to the complaint could result in a default judgment of divorce against you.

One the issues have been joined (summon and complaint has been answered) you can make a motion for a temporary orders. You can also ask for temporary custody, child support (if you get the temporary custody order); and if circumstances permit, you may be able to get support for yourself–all pending the final dissolution of the marriage. A smart lawyer would have done that for you as soon as the divorce action was filed. Once an order is in place there will be no more game playing (or he does so at his own risk).

There are also required sworn financial disclosures that both parties must file. Lying on these financial disclosures is on pain and penalties of perjury.

There are many legal tools and procedures that an attorney would have already put into place to eliminate many of the issues you are concerned with.

If you do not have an attorney, your every effort should be to retain one—yesterday! Your legal costs can be paid by your husband, in some circumstance. Speak to a lawyer and s/he will know what to do for you and if they can get fees from the husband. Don’t waste another minute. Start calling lawyers today.

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