If I just got served with divorce papers and I can't afford an attorney, what do I do? - Divorce Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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If I just got served with divorce papers and I can't afford an attorney, what do I do?

Today is June 25 but the summons reads June 10. By what date do I have to submit a response?

Answer By Frances Headley

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You have 30 days from the date you were served.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By John Russo

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It tells you on the complaint read the document, all jurisdictions are a little different but it should be 20 days from the date of service.

Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By Joseph Schramm

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In your case you could either represent yourself ("pro se " is the term) or see if you can qualify for free legal services through some organization such as Legal Aid or attorneys who do "pro bono " work in this area. You could check your county bar association to see if it has any attorneys who do pro bono work in this area.

Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 6/26/2013

Law Offices of Jill K. Whitbeck
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You have 20 days from the day you received the papers. If you agree to everything stated in the papers, you don't have to do anything and the divorce will go through without you. That is dangerous. Better to file your Answer (along with a Counterclaim if you also wish to be divorced) and proceed to your Case Management Conference.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/26/2013


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You have to file a responses 20 calender days from the date you were served.

Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/26/2013

Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
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You have 20 days from the day that you are served.? If you were served today, you must file a written Answer with the Clerk of Court by July 15th.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By John F Brennan
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
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Depends on the jurisdiction, if you cannot afford an attorney and to defend yourself you should petition the court to allow payment out of the marital estate or by the party that filed.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By Tina Fox
Fox Law Firm LLC
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You have 30 days from the date of service in which to file your answer and appearance. If you cannot afford the fee, speak with the clerk to see if you qualify as a poor person (that's what the form is called).

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By Andrea Morelos
Morelos Law Firm
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From the info you have provided, June 10 is simply the date that the complaint (lawsuit) was filed with the court. The date that you were actually served by the Sheriff or signed the green card for certified mail (sounds like June 25) is the date you go by and you have 30 days to file an Answer. Whether you really need an attorney depends on what the complaint is actually for (besides the actual divorce, are there any other claims listed?) and/or if you have any possible rights/interests you wish to pursue, such as spousal support/alimony, custody, child support, property division, etc. If truly NO other issues by either parties, then you don't really have to do anything (you don't have to respond or go to court) and the other party will have to process the actual paperwork to finalize the divorce. Even if you can't afford an attorney for a full case or handle any court maters, it is probably worth the one time minimal consult fee to have an attorney review the documents as well as talk about your marital estate/incomes to determine if you have any interests worth pursuing or at least preserving, and advising you from there.

Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 6/26/2013

Answer By Kevin H Pate
Kevin H Pate
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If you are low income, you can try and contact Legal Aid in your area. In OK, you have twenty days to respond after being served. Treat the day you are actually served the pleadings as day zero.? It doesn't matter if you were served the day the pleadings were filed, or if you are served three months later. The day you are served is day zero. On or before day twenty after you are served, you either file a response, have counsel to file a response, or have counsel enter an appearance and request an additional 20 days. ? If you are proceeding on your own, you cannot obtain the additional 20 days to respond and must respond within the 20 days after you are physically served.

Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 6/26/2013

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