A question I am frequently asked by new clients when they call me on the phone to represent them is “Help I’ve been served with divorce papers in Houston – what should I do now?”
Today I am going to walk through with you some of the very first steps that you should take when you’ve been served with divorce paperwork.
Read the Paperwork You Were Served
The very first thing that you want to do take is to read carefully and review what you have been served with. In reading the paperwork, you want to look to see if you have been served with something called a temporary restraining order or a TRO.
What is a TRO?
A TRO contains injunctions, which restricts permissible activity of one or both parties. This means that a TRO is a list of a variety of things that can include financial issues, issues regarding the children, issues regarding the marital residence, and other issues.
In a TRO, one or both of the parties are restrained from or prevented from doing until the court makes further rulings at a temporary orders hearing. The paperwork you have been served with will typically include a date and time of that temporary orders hearing has already been scheduled that you need to be present for at that date and time at the courthouse.
The Divorce Petition and Citation
If you have not been served with a temporary restraining order, the chances are pretty good that you are only been served with a divorce petition. If you were served with the divorce petition you will also have been served with language from the district clerk’s office on a citation that starts with “You have been sued” and that basically instructs you to have an Answer on file no later than the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days after service. If you fail to file an Answer by that deadline a default judgment may be taken against you by your spouse.
So, there are some important deadlines that are put in place by the court with regard to divorce paperwork that has been served upon you. If you have questions about this process, or if you have been served with divorce paperwork and you want to speak with a lawyer feel free to call Erik Larson or Diana Larson and The Larson Law Office at 713.221.9088