When you’ve been Served with Divorce Papers

Yesterday we discussed the process of serving your spouse with divorce papers.  Today we are going to discuss what to do when you have been served with divorce papers.  Being served with divorce papers really just means that the divorce papers have been properly delivered to you in a manner defined by South Carolina law.  You can check out yeseterday’s post about service of process to learn more about the proper ways to serve someone with divorce papers in South Carolina.

So, now that you have been delivered your divorce papers, you don’t know what to do.  Well, the first thing you should do is make a note of when you were served the papers.  The date and time will be very important in your divorce case because of strict time lines that apply to both you and your spouse and if you wait too long to respond to the papers you could forfeit all or some of your rights you have as they relate to this case.

Next, you should read all of the paperwork that you received and make a note of all of the questions you have and what you agree and disagree with in the paperwork.  Many times in a divorce case the plaintiff’s attorney will request a hearing at the very beginning of the case called a temporary hearing where they will request some specific relief such as child custody, child support an alimony.  The rules only require you to get five days notice of this hearing so you may need to act quickly to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in order to have them represent you at the temporary hearing.

After you have read through the paperwork, you should set up a consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer to find out about the divorce process and more specific information about your case.  At this meeting you will also find out how much that lawyer charges to handle a case like yours.  If you hire an attorney then they will begin the process of formally responding to the Summons and Complaint by filing an Answer on your behalf.  If you decide not to hire an attorney then you should begin preparing your Answer and filing it no later than 30 days from the date you were served.


  1. What happens if my spouse refuses to sign for the divorce papers when i send them by certified mail?

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