What to Do After Receiving a Divorce Complaint in Pennsylvania

Coronavirus Family Lawyer

Being formally served a Pennsylvania divorce complaint is called the “service of process” and is the first step to begin the legal proceedings that will follow. Whether you were planning on the divorce or this has come as a surprise, you may not know what to do next. The following are some steps you should take after being served the divorce papers.

Read It Thoroughly
Your divorce complaint may contain a lot of information, and you don’t want to miss any of it. Set some time aside to read the paperwork thoroughly without any distractions. This might mean you hire a babysitter and reserve a study room at the library so you can give the document your undivided attention. In addition to a cover letter, your papers may include:

  • A notice to defend – This is information about obtaining an attorney and defending your position.
  • The complaint – This will probably be the biggest document and will include factual details about your relationship with your spouse, information about the children, and anything else about your marriage that would be pertinent to the situation. It will also detail the requests your spouse has, such as child custody, child support, property, or spousal support.
  • A verification page – This is a document signed by your spouse, indicating that everything in the complaint is true.
  • Affidavit Under Section 3301(d) of the Divorce Code – This document won’t be in every divorce decree, but in some situations in which the couple has been separated for a certain period of time, the court gives the responding spouse a different amount of time to respond to the complaint. This affidavit outlines that time frame and gives a judge the ability to grant a divorce without your consent if you don’t respond on time.

Prepare to Make a Response
Your lawyer will be an integral part of this step, as he or she can help you know how to respond. Pennsylvania law does not require a response, though there are some situations in which it is necessary, helpful, or both. Your response should outline any information that you feel is different than what your spouse detailed, as well as any additional information that you feel is important but was left out.

Contact a Lawyer to Get Started
Going through a divorce can be hard, even if it is amicable. If you have been served with a divorce complaint, contact a family lawyer, like a Coronavirus family lawyer in Arlington, Virginia, today to get help with the process.

Thank you to the experts at May Law, LLP for their input into divorce and the Coronavirus.