Just Got Served in A Family Law Case?
If one has been served in a family case (i.e. Divorce, Child Custody Suit, Child Support), then one needs to take the situation seriously and make smart choices that will ensure their rights and best interests are protected. Whether one is expecting to be served or not, how one responds to the petition can severely impact the outcome of their case. Although dealing it might seem overwhelming at first, following these steps can get one started on the right path.
Step #1: Read The Entire Petition
Once you’ve received service of the papers, don’t ignore them! You need to closely review the document to figure out the deadline to respond to the petition. Additionally, papers will inform you of the court where the action was filed and your cause number. The papers you are served with will also outline the cause of action, i.e., divorce, child custody, child support, and whether the other party is filing the paperwork on their own or if they have an attorney representing them. Understanding the significance of the information in the documents you are served with is essential for building a strong legal strategy for your case.
Step #2: Provide Your Response
After you determine the deadline, you will have to provide a response to the documents you were served with. In Texas the deadline is the first Monday following 20 days after you were initially served. You can either file an answer and/or a counterpetition. Whether you have an attorney handle your response or you draft one yourself, it needs to be done. Failing to respond can result in the court granting a Default Judgment in favor of the other party for everything they want.
Step #3: Consult With A Knowledgeable Lawyer
You should meet with a family law attorney within a week of getting the papers. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your situation, discuss your options, and determine the best way to ensure your legal interests are fully protected. An attorney can also simplify the process by helping you manage important deadlines, mediate stressful communications, and advise how to properly communicate with the other party.
Our compassionate lawyers at Kuteyi & Mokolo Attorneys at Law know that your family case can be a daunting and emotionally taxing experience. That is why our dedicated legal team is here to provide top-notch legal representation in all matters related to your family case. To request your consultation, please call today 713-784-2906.