All divorces, whether they are amicable or contentious, involve the filing and serving of divorce papers. The process of filing for divorce simply initiates the legal proceedings. In receiving divorce papers in Horry County, you do not have to sign them immediately. But you do have an obligation to respond to them within a specific time.
The 30-day deadline for responding
Once you receive the divorce papers, either the process server, your spouse’s legal counsel or the instructions in the document will inform you of the impending timeline for a response. You will then have 30 days to examine the paperwork. During that time, you may go over the critical details of the divorce and plan your next move, such as:
- Understanding what is listed therein
- Contact a divorce attorney
- Decide to represent yourself
- Frame your response
If you do not respond within 30 days, you may lose your right to contest certain parts of the divorce. That could include related issues such as child custody, child support, alimony or property division.
Violating the deadline
You may need to sign the divorce papers ahead of the deadline to avoid losing your chance to have a say in the proceedings. This means the court could follow your spouse’s requests and wants. So, if you do not wish to be excluded from issues related to the divorce, you must answer the papers within 30 days. Otherwise, you might not get to tell your side of the story. This may result in an unfair or unfavorable outcome for you.
As for your response, you have several options: you can consent to the proposed terms from your spouse or express your disagreement. Or, you may suggest modifications. If there are additional claims you wish to lodge against your spouse, you can do so via a counterclaim. It’s important to remember that time is critical in this process. It may not be wise to hold off on responding to preserve your best interests.