Whether one resides in Massachusetts or elsewhere, being served dissolution of marriage papers can be an emotional and trying experience. Some individuals may know it is coming and others may be blindsided. In either case, the steps taken after divorce papers are served can greatly affect one's final settlement and future financial standing.
After a divorce petition is received, the respondent has two options: respond or not respond. There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these choices. Those who fail to answer a divorce petition may have their divorces processed much faster; however, this also means that the petitioners are likely to be granted everything they have asked for in their initial proposals. This is something known as an uncontested divorce.
Those spouses who would like to provide answers to divorce petitions must do so in the required time frame. This is generally a 30 day window. A response can be short or lengthy, depending on what disagreements one may have with the petitioner's requests. Generally, a response includes an acknowledgement of the desired divorce, agreements or disagreements with the proposed settlement and any desired settlement terms.
While every stage of the divorce process can be emotionally difficult, with help couples can get through it and move forward. Massachusetts residents may seek legal guidance from the very beginning, starting with responding to dissolution petitions -- if desired. From there, further steps can be taken to ensure that both parties come out with settlements that leave both sides feeling satisfied and prepared for the future.
Source: FindLaw, "Answering the Divorce/Dissolution Petition", Accessed on June 14, 2016